Total loan: $2,500


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Oakland, CA, United States / Food

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A loan helped invest in marketing tools like additional signage and a website for my women-owned authentic Oaxacan restaurant in West Oakland.

Carolina's story

My mother Rosa and I, Carolina, were both born in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is one of the most remote regions in the country, a place where the presence of Indigenous culture is everywhere. For my mom, growing up in Oaxaca in the 1950’s meant long days working the land. There was no expectation that a young woman like her would ever go into higher education. In her village, there was no elementary school, which meant that she had to travel to another town where her godmother lived just to complete her primary education. Her godmother, Margarita Surita, infused my mother with a passion for the amazing cuisine of Oaxaca. Even though she became a high-end seamstress, her love for her people’s cuisine and her strong sense of entrepreneurship ultimately brought her to California. My mother’s struggles share many parallels with my own. We are both dreamers, trying to achieve what many tell us is unattainable. I dream of getting into higher education, and of being part of a generation that makes a difference in the world. And, I dream of helping my mother accomplish her goal of establishing a successful business sharing her cuisine, and creating an opportunity for me to go back into school to pursue my own dreams. I want to learn more about the ancient cultures in the Americas, their philosophy and perceptions of life. During the golden era of the Maya, one of the main principles to live by was having balance in the community, which is tragically missing in our world today. I would like to be a vessel to bring healing to my community by going back to the roots of our ancestors. For the past three years, my mother and I have been working side-by-side creating traditional tamales and moles from our homeland. As two immigrant women of color, we face many challenges in getting our business off the ground: finding the capital to rent a kitchen, buy the ingredients, transport the food, and establish ourselves in various farmers’ markets. Branding and marketing also take capital. But our tamales and mole are unique and very much appreciated by the many who buy our food wherever we offer them.