Total loan: $725


El Alto, La Paz Department, Bolivia / Food

Paulina's loan finished fundraising,
but these similar borrowers just need a little more help to reach their goals!

A loan helped to buy wholesale cooking supplies.

Paulina's story

Paulina is 57 years old and married. She has a fourteen-year-old son and a twenty-year-old daughter. Her business is selling traditional food. She is a good mother and an understanding, enterprising, persevering, responsible, and hardworking woman. She runs her business in Fatravi, which is an industrial area. There is a lot of space there, which is used by different factories that produce paper and plastic, a soda bottling company, warehouses storing construction material, etc. The weather is cold and dry, with temperatures ranging from 0 to 12 degrees Celsius at an altitude of approximately 4,000 meters above sea level. Paulina has dark skin, brown eyes, and long black hair that she wears braided. She is short and stout and likes to wear traditional hats, skirts, and wraps. Her first language is Aymará, which she speaks among her family, but she also speaks Spanish, which she uses in general and for her business. She shares her life with her husband, who works as an electrician. They live in their own house, which is built out of brick and cement with a sheet-metal roof. They have all the basic utilities: water, sewer, gas, and electricity. She works selling traditional food like plato paceño (potatoes, fava beans, corn, and fried cheese), fricasé (pork, corn, and chile stew), chairo (potato and lamb stew), and other dishes. She does this Monday through Sunday, dividing her work load: She leaves everything ready in the kitchen at night, and in the morning, once she has prepared all of the food, she places it in pots and containers in her two-wheel cart. She walks with it for a couple of kilometers until she arrives at her food stall, which is outdoors, on the street. When she arrives she unloads some benches to sit down and opens a couple of umbrellas, one for herself and one for her customers. Her customers are drivers, construction workers, sand suppliers, and other hardworking local people. "I started my business helping my mother and then started out on my own. Sometimes my daughter helps me and other times I get help from a lady who knows how to cook..." she says. The advantage of her business is that there isn't any competition in the area. The disadvantage is the distance she has to travel in order to get to her stall. Her dream is to be able to open a restaurant. She wants to expand her business by buying wholesale cooking supplies like rice, oil, pasta, potatoes, meat, vegetables, eggs, etc. so that she can cook larger quantities and serve more customers. She has been in business for twenty years but this is her first loan through our organization.