Augusta Charpentier starts her day early. Around 7 am, she begins selling fritay, Haitian fried food that can include anything from fried sweet potatoes to fried beef, known as kibi. In the evenings, she prepares rice and vegetables, with meat provided by her son, a butcher.
A Fonkoze client for eleven years, Augusta
began with Solidarity lending, but was
able to expand her business to move up
to Fonkoze’s Business Development
loans. Her first loan was for $75; now she
borrows sums as large as $1,750.00.
Augusta takes a bite of her little remaining fritay while preparing to start on the evening meal, for which her customers begin lining up around 5 pm. One of her visitors scolds her for eating the food she’s supposed to be selling. “If I don’t eat, I don’t have the strength to make the food,” she says—a perfect summary of Augusta’s no- nonsense attitude.
If the wait for her evening meal is any indication, Augusta is doing well. On Saturday evenings, she says, she offers a special, often fish. She also sends food to the market for other ti machann to sell.
Augusta shares a house with her husband, three children, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. She and her husband, who does odd jobs in Jakmel, built the house together, but now they are working to expand.
“I started off low, but now I’m saving more and more money,” she says. “Fonkoze helps people to move.”