Granjero, vendedor, mecánico de bicicletas, esposo, padre, bombero: Brauli. This is Brauli, his wife Stephanie, and their son Matteo. They live in a small community known as Bambu which is tucked in a corner of the Telire River in Southeast Costa Rica. While their home is surrounded by the Telire on three sides (they can see Panama from their house) they still have road access to the rest of the country without crossing water.
Brauli is a member of a fundación integral campesina (Grupo FINCA) sponsored credit company known as an empresa. Grupo FINCA identifies communities across Costa Rica where micro-loans can contribute to the social and economic development of its inhabitants by providing life changing opportunities previously out of reach. Additionally, they conduct training and strengthening for the empresas that are already established. This support is vital to the program and the wealth and health of the community.
Brauli participates in a project established by Grupo FINCA known as MiBici. MiBici is the bike project supported by Bikes for the World and our largest recipient of bikes to date (over 30,000 bikes). MiBici helps create capital for the empresa which is used to supply loans to members for various employment improvements such as building fences for livestock, buying seeds for farming, or increasing staff or materials in small shops.
For Brauli's main job he is a firefighter (bombero) in the Bribri region. He is stationed on the coast over an hour from home. Firefighters in Costa Rica work a 24 hour shift followed by 24 hours off. Even though this keeps him away from home for long periods, it also provides time for the many other jobs he holds in his community.
In his 'spare time' Brauli raises tilapia, maintains a plantain farm, and most recently planted lychees on his two acre lot. He has used loans from his empresa to improve his farm and home.
He is also a bike mechanic. Back in 2016 he purchased 50 bikes from one of our shipments. Because he covers a lot of ground as a firefighter, Brauli's network of contacts falls under a pretty big net. He was able to make sales not only in his community at home, but as far east as the coast, where he has sold a fleet of beach cruisers to a business that rents them to tourists.
He decided to try again, purchasing another 48 bikes this year. This time around he received a full tool kit, making the repair of bicycles so much easier. When Taylor visited Brauli in April he also delivered a Park Tool repair book. Brauli was very thankful to receive the tools, most notably the specialized bike tool for removing chains. Previously he had used a hammer and nail to remove the pins that hold chains together.
Brauli also noticed a big difference in the quality of our latest shipment. The bikes were in better condition and the inclusion of spare parts helped him make the necessary repairs to get the donated bikes working again. Most of his clients use the bikes for errands, work, or to get to school.