“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.”