On the way to Badulla after passing Ella area, Thamil Arisi’s hotel located on the left hand side of the road is very familiar to everyone in the area. Even before Thamil Arisi had started the hotel, she had a Short Eats cart, and if there is anyone in the area who has not eaten her food since the days of her food cart, it is someone who has a strict policy of not eating from shops. We talked to Thamil Arisi over a cup of hot tea on a misty afternoon when a white mist had covered the Ella mountain range.
My hometown is Malwatta. I felt that I had to support my family as economic problems gradually burdened our life. Since our house was located by the Badulla-Bandarawela main road, and since I have had the skill to make food from my young days, I thought of making food and selling it by the roadside. At that time, I did not even have the means to rent a shop; so what I did was to make short eats and sell them on a food cart. I sold a variety of food items such as murukku, wade, roti, rolls, and patties. After doing this business for some time, there was a growing demand for our food. I realized that I would not be able to meet that demand by selling food on the food cart.
It was during this time that I came to know about Grameen. As soon as I learned about Diriya Loan scheme of Grameen Company and of the benefits of that loan, the thought that this loan would help me improve my business entered my mind.
My thought has been so true that today I have been able to run my own hotel and restaurant. Beginning with Rs. 60,000, I have obtained loans up to Rs. 200,000 on several occasions as required. In addition to selling food, we accept orders for food. My expectation now is to start a restaurant on the land I have bought recently.
I still remember that there was no change in the gleam in the eyes of Thamil Arisi, who was full of hopes, as the sky over Ella area darkened.
Baalaiya Thamil Arisi