Latha has had the fortune of having five healthy daughters, but raising them has been no easy task. So far, three of her daughers have married, ages 25, 23, 20. Her two other daughters, ages 14 and 10, live with Latha and walk about 2 km to the local government school. For the most part, Latha has raised the children without her husband in the house; for the last 15 years he has lived in Kerala working in construction. He sends home 8,000 – 9,000 Rs. a month, which goes to support Latha and her two daughters. He comes home three to four times a year to visit. When I asked Latha if it is hard for her to have her husband in Kerala, and she said, “we both have cellphones, so we talk on the phone everyday for about 10 minutes.”
I met Latha at a tailors' near her house, where we shared mango juice and peanut sweets. She told me that with her loan from Milaap she bought 10 baby chickens and 5 grown chickens, and now has between 20 and 25 chickens. She still works an agricultural labor job, which brings in about 100 Rs. a day, but she now makes a few thousand more rupees every month with her poultry business. She said that she hasn’t bought anything in particular with the new source of income, but she enjoys not having to buy eggs.
Latha at the tailor shop