BRICKS TO BREAD COSTA RICA PROJECTS
MARLEN VILLAFUERTE – POLVAZAL DE SANTA CRUZ
The coastal region of Guanacaste is known for its warmth, beautiful beaches and pura vida lifestyle. But beyond the coastal landscape, the traditional Guanacaste culture emanates from tiny villages filled with pastures, soccer fields and small local stores. With only three months of seasonal work in the sugar fields, over 25,000 people in the region live in extreme poverty. Most Polvazal women are unemployed or earn less than $155/month from inadequate income-generating activities.
Marlen, her mother, her sister, and cousin demonstrate strength and endurance, working together grounded in their heritage and traditions. Marlen’s dream is to have her own oven where she can prepare food in the traditional guanacasteco way, baking traditional breads and biscuits made from corn. With her family by her side, she wants to teach the next generation the same traditions her mother taught her.
Since her oven was constructed in January 2022, Marlen has become an incredible ambassador for Bricks to Bread! Not only is she baking to raise money to outfit her kitchen, and taking baking and business classes, she is an enthusiastic hostess! Our volunteer groups visit her home regularly to meet her and her family, enjoy a delicious meal, and bake together. She hosts vacationers looking for rural tourism excursions and even prepared an oven-baked meal with a chef from Minneapolis whose sister owns a bakery in Heredia. Guess where Marlen will be going to learn some next-level baking skills?!