Interview with Myrna, Coordinator of the bakery in Zacatales

How did you become interested in the bakery and how did you get started?

We met as a women’s group with Delmy, the SEW staff person. We wanted to start a business that would benefit us and our community. Our desire is to have a bakery that is well known in the community and recognized in the municipality.

We spoke to our husbands as well, so they would support us and give us the wood we needed to build this room for our bakery. All women went down the steep hillside to chop the bamboo and the men worked with us to put up the wall - this is a building made up of earth. The City Hall provided the tin and wood for the roof and donated the cement for the floor as well.

Myna

You have only been in business 17 days – what has that been like?

We have two groups of seven women who work in two shifts of four hours a day. We have received training in baking bread and sweet cakes and how to maintain sanitary work conditions in the work space. Roberto, a scholarship student, comes once a week, as part of his course work, to teach us new baking possibilities. Last week we learned to make donuts.

In a few minutes we will show you how we make pineapple sweet cakes. Using four pounds of dough and creaming the lard we will make about 110 cakes. These sell for 15 cents each and we cannot keep up with demand in Zacatales – people come early in the morning to secure their order in advance.

Myna flattening dough

What do you see for the future?

We are still missing a few things – we need to fill in the spaces in the roof for protection from the rain. We need to install electricity and we need to make this space bigger. When I said I wanted us to be known in the municipality, we really believe we have special baked goods and we can sell them in towns and to restaurants. We want to expand our space so that other women in our community can work. We agreed to do without wages this month, to put the money back into the business.

Myrna, how would you transport bakery goods when the nearest town is an hour and a half away down a rugged mountain and you have no vehicles?

We would take them when we delivered the products from the chicken cooperative that I manage – we go out every 8 days. Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a ride, but we are used to walking distances and we are excited to be doing this. We will be known for the best baked goods in our area. We are so grateful to SEW for their support.