Talim Island

View Talim Island in a larger map

Well it’s been hard work and taken me just about 3 week, but I’ve finally visited all 10 branches of Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI), my host MFI, that service Kiva loans and I have to do it folks. I’m smitten with one particular branch. They are all amazing, seriously, but one has got just a little bit more than the others.

The Island Branch is the most remote branch in Rizal, still on Luzon Island. It takes a transporter boat to get there and it’s the last stop of 12 the boat makes. This means from the Central Branch of the region it’s 2 jeepneys and the boat for a total of about 90 minutes. It’s called Talim Island, and it’s simple and clean and just, wow.

Once on the island there are no cars! Tricycles can get you some of the places, but not everywhere and so people are walking, the air is cleaner, it’s a beautiful place.

Tourists? Haha. I don’t think so. It’s not a beachy island, it’s a fisherman and crafts island. The Philippines has over 7,100 islands. Talim Island is just one of many in the archipelago.

The borrowers are some of the most successful in all of ASHI, which I credit to two main things. One, lack of distractions. Without an SM MALL around every corner, these families have a chance to save and not spend their money. Two, determination. It takes guts to make it on an island, where opportunity for business growth is minimal. These women have chosen to live somewhere remote, it’s make it or break it.

I’m headed back this week for a day or two to meet more Kiva Borrowers. I can’t separate loans JUST from this branch, but if you’d like to make a loan to a ASHI-Kiva Borrower, all of the current loans on the site can be found here.

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