Bread, cups of corn, hair salons, and handmade bags
This week was busy, but exciting! I interviewed four fantastic women – Doña Alejandra, Gloria, Silvia, and María. Doña Alejandra makes homemade bread at her house. She sells a wide variety of breads including banana, walnut, coconut, and carrot bread. She said that her family has been making homemade bread for eight generations. The large oven outside her house is very noticeable. Interestingly, a man in her neighborhood made it for her when he was eighty years old. The oven is mostly made of mud and brick. The inside of the oven contains sand, glass, and salt. The top of the oven contains sugar and sawdust. I was very surprised when I heard that materials such as sugar were used, however Doña Alejandra wisely stated that these materials were necessary to preserve the heat inside the oven.
Gloria sells cups of corn or elotes. She also sells earrings. We met her at the her town plaza (Plaza Lasbrisas) which was filled with colorful red benches. I absolutely loved talking to her at the plaza that day – it was so calm, peaceful, and just a wonderful place to be. She’s the main earner of her family, and lives with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She sells corn with cream and cheese, as well as corn with salt and lemon – it all sounds delicious! Unfortunately, she only sells a few cups of corn a week and can only sell a lot on event days. I could imagine the picturesque plaza buzzing with vendors and people during holidays. I thought about how foreign tourists would be eager to come to this plaza to try some of Gloria’s elotes. It would be so great if everyone knew about all the interesting business in this town!
I loved meeting Silvia. She was so sweet and friendly. We talked to her in her cozy hair salon, which was decorated in pink on all sides. Her daughter stayed by her side playing with a baby doll. Silvia cuts both men’s and women’s hair, and can curl or dye them too. Silvia is originally from Mexico State. I was so surprised to hear that she was only thirteen years old when she went to school to learn how to become a hair-stylist! She used to watch hair stylists working and then also wanted to style people’s hair. She then started working only at 15-16 years old. I found her story very fascinating. I could not imagine preparing for a career at thirteen years old!
Finally, I met Maria Ines. She was very shy, but her bags were absolutely beautiful. She also sells fabricated bouquets of flowers made out of foam and baskets made of newspaper. She told us that she only started selling these products a year ago. She learned how to make these crafts from the government school, which offers classes that help people with businesses. She told us that it takes her two days to make one bag! All in all, it was a great learning experience to meet so many amazing women, and they told me things I could not have expected. I can’t wait to meet more people next week!