After some rest, most of the sorojchi symptoms were gone and I left to the Zona Villa Nueva Potosí to meet Flavio Saramani, who I met in 2008. Carlos Ortiz, Banco Fie’s loan officer, was waiting for me there. As we knocked at the door I felt many emotions: would he remember me?
Don Flavio still lives in the same house, but his workshop has been added to. The puesto mañanero (morning stall) is now run by his sister and Flavio’s wife, Maritza, runs the baby and children’s garment store in Miraflores. This is one of Flavio’s dream that became a reality. With a little patience, he explained to me the process for producing the garments and the high quality standards he has for his products. He said that he used Banco Fie’s loans to buy Japanese machinery because it guarantees that the garments will be made correctly. He also told me that he is very strict with the textile providers and he is not content with all colours or quality. “I am very confident in the quality of my products. If a buyer doubts the quality, I am willing to sell the products for a lower price so the buyer can try them and see for themselves that these are high quality clothes. My secret can be summarized in the following: “my products are not mass produced, they are made with care and with the needs of the customers in mind. I ask the mothers for their opinion and I use them to adapt my products”.
Flavio’s main satisfaction is that he was able to send his son and daughter to two leading Bolivian universities. “I do not need material things; being able to send my children to school makes me happy. The rest of my profit is invested in the business,” said Flavio. Flavio still dreams of buying a house with a larger workshop.
After showing me around the new storage and production areas, he brought me to the living room where I interviewed him six years ago. “Look at the ceiling, señorita: There I hung the keychain of the Dutch clogs you gave me all those years ago. Do you remember?” said Flavio, “A key I found on the street is also hanging from the keychain. It will bring me luck and I will use this keychain for the keys to my new house.” His honesty, kindness and ambition is truly inspiring.