Meet the Locals: Richard Morales

Welcome to “Meet the Locals” – a new series of posts where we introduce you to San Juan del Sur locals (#Sanjuañenos) and chronicle their stories. We know our readers are going to love reading about other people in the community so we’re excited to make the introductions.

Ricardo Morrales

“I was born in Las Delicias and raised by my mother. She worked as a cook on a military base earning 350 cordoba each month. It was not always enough to feed us.  I dropped out of school in 6th grade because I felt that I had to help support my family.

I learned how to drive a car when I was 12 years old on the military base. When I started driving tourists I did not speak any English.  I didn’t even know what the word “shuttle” meant. I learned English by speaking to the tourists I drove each day. Every night I prayed to God to help me learn just one new word.

One day, while driving, I met an American man named Daniel.  He asked me why I didn’t drive my own car. I told him that my wife was pregnant and I could not afford to buy my own car.  He said he’d give me the money to buy a car for myself but that I had to pay him back. We did not sign any contract.  We only shook hands and exchanged phone numbers. 

A week later I got a call from the bank in Rivas saying my money had arrived. I did not even have a bank account.  This was back in 2002 when there were no banks or ATM’s in San Juan del Sur. Before I could get to the bank I got another phone call from the hospital saying that my wife was in labor.  Instead of going to the bank I went straight to the hospital to be with my wife as she delivered my first daughter. I will never forget this day. It was the best day of my life – May 29, 2002.

After my wife and daughter returned home safely, I got the money from the bank and bought my first car in Managua. Now when I drove tourists, I would put aside money from each ride to payback my loan.  I never missed a payment.

Two years later, Daniel came back to Nicaragua. He told me I was now ready to hire a driver and run my own business.  I did not feel ready but Daniel believed in me.  I got a 2nd and 3rd loan from Daniel for new cars. I kept working very hard. I built my business through word of mouth by being honest and trustworthy.  I paid off my last car loan plus interest in January 2015.  The rest of my cars I bought with my own savings.

Now I pay for my daughter to learn English in Escuela Adalente.”

Richard Morales at Transporte Gaby || transportegaby.com

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