- Business Location:
- Arellano St., Koronadal City
- Rug Making
She did not anticipate my call, nor was she attentive at that time. Edisa Loquias of Koronadal City is seldom like that, but I think she was busy cutting the shirts she bought from the local ukay-ukay to make the rugs her neighbor ordered. She’s always keen with the cutting, making sure that every part of the shirt will be used. It was her way to economize, I remembered; the shirt cost Php10 each, and if she got a bargain, she’ll have that at Php5. That could still be substantial for a rug business. When she answered the phone, she was breathing deeply. Perhaps this was a good break for her, so I asked her to relate to me latest news about her business and life. She said she’s got some orders and needed to finish those before sundown. The customer will drop by to pick her rugs in the afternoon. She sells them at three pieces for a hundred pesos, and for made to order rugs, she sells them starting at Php50. She could make nine pieces a day, and earns an average of Php200 to Php300. Well, that’s about good knowing her electronics shop is earning another Php350 to Php400 per day. Her husband, Demosthenes, repairs television sets and other gadgets, which customers from as far as Cotabato City brings to their house cum shop. Cough, cough.. She cleared her throat (perhaps the change in weather is tearing her down), but proceeded on telling me her electronics shops is indeed doing good. She wanted to travel to Davao City the other month to buy some parts, but her husband was able to buy the things he needed in Marbel (Koronadal City). She usually comes to Davao every month or quarterly, also to visit her family in Kalinan. She loves to drop by her parents and siblings. They’re four, she said. She recalls, it was 1988 when she and Demosthenes, as newly weds, transferred from Davao to stay in Marbel. She was way aloof and did not care much about events happening around her, much more with the usual chitchats of neighbors. She got irritated easily when neighbors in the flat failed to tidy their things. And for four years, she stayed most of the time inside her house, minded her own business and never cared about anybody, of course, except her husband. “My usual route was home and the market. That was me,” laughed she. But things changed when she joined KMBI.
“I changed a lot while joining the program. My social and spiritual life flourished,”said she.
Now in her 17th loan cycle, Edisa serves as center leader since 1999. Phew! What a feat! But being a leader does not come smoothly, she says. There are and will always be challenges, especially that members have varying personalities. “Pero enjoy sa KMBI! I learned to show compassion they way I never did before. I learned to empathize with my members, to love even the most unlovable, to care and even to solve problems,” she added. She continued that other members disagreed on her strictness on KMBI policies and even started tales that she’s being paid by the organization. But she rebutted and said, “No, I do not get anything from the organization (except the services their program offers), but I believe that KMBI truly wants to help microentrepreneurs, like us. Though we do not become millionaires instantaneously, they are teaching us to be good stewards of the resources made available to us. While here with the organization, our businesses run smoothly. We can eat three times a day. We can buy the things we need. What more can we ask for.”
For her, KMBI center meeting schedules are special days. “I have trained myself to block off my schedule for the center meetings. We usually meet at eight o’clock, but I come at the center house at six o’clock or six fifteen,” she said. Edisa believes her setting of right example on discipline is crucial in her leadership. She advocates the same for other center presidents, saying that as leaders, they must take the mission and vision of the organization by heart. “Center leaders should guide and protect their members, and not allow that they fall into bigger debts,” said she. With her dedication, one can truly ask what caused her to be like that. “KMBI has had great impact in my life, not only in spiritual and social aspects. I have also learned new business skills, which gains me more income.” She makes special puto by order. “I never thought I could cook puto, but now this cooking has added to my income.” With her leadership, she also teaches other members of good values, i.e. discipline on time and payments, respect and concern for others and family. “When members face problems of all sorts, they tend to solve that with booze. But I tell them booze will make them sicker, so they must face their problems head on and try not to escape from it,” said she. She learned to help people even if she does not get anything in return.
Her sons, J-Jireh and Michael, have also learned a great deal from their mom. While taking Information Technology, J-Jireh works in his spare time as data encoder for a local survey project. “We did not pressure him to take responsibility as early as now, but one day, he just brought home stocks of groceries for his dad that has been sick and for all of us. I could not believe how responsible he has grown,” said the proud mom. At home, Edisa teaches his sons to save, to be prompt with commitments (discipline with time), to pray, and even to engage in small businesses of their own. Her 12-year-old youngest son, Michael, operates a sari-sari store at their house. He even makes potholders, made with ukay-ukay shirts, which he sells together with his mom’s rugs. “Michael saves the earnings he gets from his businesses. I tell them to do that because not all that time can we support them,” said she. There was also a time when both son and mom shared their skills in rug making in one of Michael’s class. “I learned this skill from one of the training seminars of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), so when other parents or students ask us to teach them (this skill), my son and I demonstrate it to them,” she shared. Both sons have become as realistic and wise as their mom.
This year, she nearly resigned from the program. “My husband was sick and needed my full attention. I nearly resigned from the program, but one of the KMBI staff counseled me. He let me cry and listened to me. That sustained me, that’s why I’m still here enjoying the program,” said she. When asked why she extends this much of herself for the members and for the organization, she says she wants to leave footprints worth emulating. “We will not be here forever. We simply pass by. But we should give back in gratitude by living changed lives. This is our legacy to the organization,” she said.
We ended the call because her customer indeed came by. I hope the rug orders are all set for I interrupted her making one. But it has been a fruitful chat with the center leader who we usually see in KMBI branch tarpaulins. She says there, “Masaya dito sa KMBI.” Now I know why she said that.