“Mama, we aren’t buying dolls, we aren’t buying anything… and I don’t have clothes.”
Leydi remembers the moment her seven-year-old daughter Mariana caught on to the crisis that had overwhelmed their country, and now, their family. She faced a dilemma many parents can relate to: how to be honest with her children about grown-up realities and still assure them they are safe, even if mom is not wholly convinced herself.
Leydi looked at her precious daughter; smart and determined with her heart set on studying to be a nurse. Dolls were one thing; Leydi is worried about food right now. They live in a home with 16 people off a narrow dirt road. “The neighborhood is not the same as last year,” Leydi recalls. “Before the market was moving more, now people are just focused on getting food, and that is my biggest worry. My daughter is very thin.”
She is a single mother of three – Junior, Obed and Mariana. Junior and Obed are old enough to understand Nicaragua’s economic crisis this year; a result of great political upheaval. Like their mom, the boys are also trying to sell in the streets and they have experienced what it’s like doing business in a time when no one has money to spare.
It used to be Leydi could make ends meet by selling tamales and elote, cooked sweet corn. She is a smart saleswoman who made a living for herself through remarkable grit and perseverance. But it is a lot for her to be responsible for every end of the business, from securing and preparing the food to setting her prices and trying to keep the ingredients fresh in her small home made of scrap metal piled up around dirt floors.
There are days when she doesn’t sell anything. Then she loses not just the profit, but the product she invested in too. She applied for Fresco Express because she believes the different products and support of Supply Hope will help her to match her sales skills with a better business model. She will be able to rely on a baseline income before commission and she will receive ongoing in-office and on-the-job training, as well as access to benefits. Because the Fresco Express equipment keeps the juices fresh during the day, anything she doesn’t sell will stay fresh at the Supply Hope warehouse to be sold over the next few days.
Despite her struggles, Leydi’s compassion and care for her children keeps her moving forward. “I want to save money, more than anything else, for the education of my children. I want to have confidence. I don’t want to have to say ‘No, we don’t have money’ every time they ask for something.”
Leydi looked her daughter in the eye and told her the truth. “Things are difficult right now. I don’t have a salary. But I have the desire to earn a living and I am going to achieve it. I am going to overcome.”