Friday, March 23, 2012

Maria Iza - Chickens

Maria Iza grew up in an agricultural family on the outskirts of Quito, so it is no wonder that she currently raises chickens, as well as an assortment of ducks, turkeys, guinea pigs, and rabbits. However, her experiences leading up to this point were not quite as predictable. Maria’s parents helped her enter into work as a seamstress at the early age of 16. After the birth of her four children, Maria decided to return to agriculture, and was able to help provide for her family with the milk production of 14 dairy cows. When the country became unstable and several of her cows were stolen, Maria chose to sell the rest and start a small business with two sewing machines. As her children grew, she sent them to high school and then the university, but she did not have money to buy a computer, which her daughter needed to finish her thesis and graduate from the university. Maria made the difficult decision to sell her sewing machines and buy a computer.

Today it is quite obvious that this was the best decision that Maria could have made. Joy radiates from her face as Maria explains that all her children graduated from the university and are professionals. Maria, in turn, has also built up her current businesses. Without any experience with chickens, Maria decided one day to buy a box of 200 chicks. She had seen a man on the street selling newborn chicks, and it piqued her interest. There was a steep learning curve when Maria started. Of that first group of 200 chicks, she was only able to sell 100 full-grown chickens. However, she has grown and diversified the business over time, most recently adding the traditional Ecuadorian guinea pig as one of the animals she raises. With a loan from the local PW partner in Quito, Maria was able to renovate her chicken coops, adding ventilation and replacing the old, leaky roof. She also built separate nests for the ducks and “wild” hens. As her business continues to grow, Maria hopes to purchase more cages for guinea pigs and rabbits, and possibly buy a truck one day to help her bring the animals to the market. In all this work, Maria relies on God to give her strength for the present work and provide for whatever plans He has for the future.

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