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Cooking up a Storm

At more than 50 years old Vidal Sánchez serves the customers in her cafeteria as if she were still a young women. Vidal's small restaurant serves travellers in the busy Cotran bus terminal in the northern city of Estelí.  

"I've been a slave to this business for the last 32 years," Vidal says jokingly, while adding, "but I do it because I like it. I have had restaurants in various locations around the city.”

Vidal's current restaurant has been operating for the past 9 years. The business was initially staffed by her two nieces. When they finished their university education, Vidal began to work in the cafeteria.

"Thanks to this business, I was able to help my nieces go to university. One is an architect and the other a business administrator and both are working in their fields, so I am now in charge of the cafeteria"

FROM DAWN UNTIL DUSK

According to Vidal, she works from dawn until dusk because of her strong commitment to the business. She starts working at 5am and usually closes the cafeteria around 7pm. Vidal also has the help of a young woman who works between 7am and 3pm. "It's a hard lifestyle, but I have made some accomplishments. I've been able to build a house and to support my family's education and my mother in her old age," notes Vidal.

Vidal says that she has been working with MiCrédito for more than 6 years and has received different financing products from the institution, including seasonal credits and home improvement loans.

"They have always treated me well, so I think they will support my next business project," asserts Vidal. She refers to her plan to install a tortilla shop in her new house. She also hopes to eventually move her cafeteria there so that she can stop paying rent. 

"With the loan that I am applying for, I want to buy two tortilla grills and hire a couple of women to help me make the tortillas. I think that I could produce about 1500 tortillas per day and also open my cafeteria in the house so that I can stop paying US$ 200 per month in rent. I can invest this money in my business. I call this place the house of my struggle because I would also like to start a fritanga (grill house) so that I can make healthy, grilled food for my clients."