Juhudi Kilimo, East Africa
I came to Machakos when I got married 20 years ago. I used to be a dressmaker then but, when I came here, I started farming because my husband owned a farm. We grew tea, then coffee and now we also rear cows.
We have had been working on this farm ever since we were married. I love grazing with the cows and plucking the tea, but neither of them are very productive. Life has been very hard. We would struggle to meet all of our needs. We were pulling resources from everywhere to plug the holes. We had only a little, nothing to keep or save.
I decided to take out a loan with Juhudi to improve how I graze my cattle. I also wanted to start raising chickens. I have about 50 chickens now. They haven’t started laying eggs, but the hope is there. I want to get more until I get success.
About 10 years ago, we took a loan from a local microfinance institution and they collected the repayments on a weekly basis. It made life very tight. When you have paying back on a weekly basis, you struggle. It was very stressful. With Juhudi, we pay monthly. We have more time. We are paying back our loan. It does not give me stress.
In life, you try your best to get success. You must work hard. You must use your capacity of thinking. You cannot sit and get something done without working.
Juhudi has helped me raise my standard of living. Having this extra money is allowing for more freedom, more peace of mind. Now I can say I’m improving. I’m getting money to use and money to keep. Two of my children are adults and they work on the farm. I must think about them and how to keep our business for them. We want to make sure it thrives for them.
Beatrice, 45, has operated a farm in rural Kenya for more than 20 years and became a customer of Acumen investee, Juhudi Kilimo, in 2015.