BRICKS TO BREAD COSTA RICA PROJECTS

THE LORÍA WOMEN – BIJAGUA DE UPALA

 

THE COMMUNITY

Bijagua de Upala gets its name from the Bijagua plants used by early settlers to wrap tamales, a typical native dish. Located in the rainforest between Tenorio Volcano National Park and Jorge Manuel Dengo Miravalles National Park, this area attracts nature enthusiasts for its organic farming and outdoor adventures. Still, the region is rural and underdeveloped. The community needs options for employment. There are no companies nearby and no transportation available to take them outside of Bijagua. Two grocery stores about a quarter mile away provide only commercial bread. Some women find work in restaurants, or they take care of children whose parents go to work as teachers, professors, and nurses in other places. Others are housekeepers in the homes of families who can afford them, while others, like the Loría sisters, are farmers and sell their own crops.

THE FAMILY

Zeneyda Carvajal Obando lives with her two daughters, Liliana and Ceydi. Liliana has an older daughter who lives in Puntarenas, and a son, Luis Fernando Castro Loría, who attends the community school and lives at home. Doña Zeneyda helps her daughters by doing housework and preparing food while the young women work in the fields. Liliana and her son grow, harvest, and sell vegetables and aromatic plants. Ceydi works in a “soda” (local general store) as a baker to pay for household expenses like electricity, telephone, water and food. Since their father died in 2017, they have worked together with their mother to survive and continue their father’s stewardship of their land and crops.

 

This oven will be under construction in March 2023.