Terrible Beginning To Better Living
The reality was there. They were poor. They did not have enough food to eat, nor money to spend, or nice clothes to wear and no budget for relaxation and fun.

Joan Martinez, 29 of Sampaloc, Talavera, Nueva Ecija was always realistic, yet ambitious enough to make her present life, with husband Michael and three beautiful kids equally beautiful and comfortable.

Just like the beginning of other life stories, Joan had a hard time starting her business and her destiny.

Despite limited budget for education, Joan persevered and finished her college course, BS in Food Technology from the Central Luzon State University. Her parents were small-time vegetable dealers with a stall in Talavera public market.

At first, she tried to succeed as an employee by working in Abesamis Junkshop in Talavera and as a checker in a store in Pangasinan. Eventually, she resigned and decided to help her parents in their small business.

Unfortunately, her mother died in 2005 so she decided to continue the vegetable dealing business. However, she had financial problem with the business that resulted to a disagreement with her father. This brought her to ASKI, for a loan. She sought the help of Mr. Rolando Victoria, ASKI’s executive director. She asked him if she could apply for a loan from ASKI and she became a client in 2006.

Together with her husband Michael, they purchased vegetables in wholesale basis in Urdaneta, Pangasinan and sold in retail in Sangitan market in Cabanatuan City. They traveled to and from every day. They were not bothered by the growing number of groceries and vegetable stores in Talavera market. Her stall had many customers because of her sweet dealings with them.

From her initial loan of P10,000, it was raised to P120,000, today. She maximized the amount to wise but honest business decisions and operation.

At present, they are distributors of CVC convenient store, Tapsi corner and fellow vegetable sellers. They feel stable now, with savings from hard earned money, helping their two employees earn a living, and sending their children to private schools. They also have a modest home to live safely.

Because of the success of her business, she is now saving P1,200 to P1,300 in the bank every day. Her monthly net income ranges from P24,000 to P27,000.

At present, she now owns the stall which she bought at P150,000 and she acquired it because of the help of ASKI.

Joan plans to expand her business to provide more jobs to the people and for her to have additional income.

Joan did not dwell on the past too much; she was not even bitter about it. She learned in constant praying to God how to get along with life and love ones happily whether she had little or much like now. She learned how to live on almost nothing or on everything like at present.

"Our life then was hard, we only experience to eat delicious food when we are sick. We can only have new clothes and new things during Christmas. We were not well-off," recalls Joan.

She adds, "When I was still studying I wanted to change my shoes, I wanted to buy new ones but because we're poor, my allowance was limited and I couldn’t. When we want something, we must save money to buy those things."

She had a terrible beginning but her determination delivered her and her family to a better living.

Her advice to others who are in the same business just like her, "I believed in destiny and kindness. You should be kind to your customers. For you to be loved too."

She may never be contented before but now she’s so focused to succeed, for her history not to be repeated. She's a Determined Joan with capital letter D.
"I believed in destiny and kindness. You should be kind to your customers. For you to be loved too"
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