Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thinking on Christmas all-year round

A narrow corridor between two buildings takes you to Ricardo Murillos’s atelier. Ricardo owns a small factory of Christmas statues for the domestic market. It was 1990 when he became a FIE client. After inheriting the family business - started by his father 60 years ago – Ricardo went by chance to a FIE office: because it was close to his home. Since then, he has remained as a loyal and one of the oldest clients. “I do not lend from anybody else but FIE. They treat me well and lend me money according to my possibilities and business particulars. In my case, I only earn money at the end of the year when I sell my Christmas sculptures in the domestic market. We only repay the loan when we have profits, which is at the end of the year. No bank would ever have agreed to those conditions, which could have endangered my business.” From his end-of-year income, he pays the school fees of his two children. They like helping in the atelier during holidays. In December, after selling his sculptures, Ricardo follows courses on new mould techniques, painting and others because “everything evolves”. We walked around the atelier and admired the “Holy Family” sculptures in different sizes and positions. They were still waiting to be hand-painted. It is a labor-intensive work that Ricardo shares with his wife and four employees. Ricardo does not have a shop, but he delivers his products to libreria Don Bosco – where people buy them as souvenir - and to fairs. He also has fixed clients that supply his sculptures to the domestic market. “I would like to sale my sculptures to Argentina, Cobija, Santa Cruz, and Chile.” This Christmas I will think of Ricardo every time I look at the Christmas sculptures adorning shops and homes.

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