Salvadoran mother and son
Apr 2 2014

Mother-and-son duo create business selling traditional Salvadoran food

Carlos and his mother, Wendy, make enchiladas to sell.

Carlos and his mother, Wendy, make enchiladas to sell.

By Jordan Kimbrell, Unbound writer/editor

Poverty creates challenges that can thrust adult worries and responsibilities on children. That’s certainly true for sponsored child Carlos from El Salvador.

At just 11 years old, Carlos takes his role as the oldest child and older brother seriously, especially since his father left shortly after his younger brother, Byron, was born.

Carlos experienced the joy of becoming a big brother when his mom, Wendy, gave birth to Byron in 2008. Unfortunately, Byron was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which meant he would need special care and medical treatment.

Wendy takes Byron to San Salvador, a two-hour drive from their home, three to four times a month for physical therapy and other treatments.

Along with taking care of Byron, Wendy makes and sells traditional Salvadoran treats to earn extra income. After school, Carlos helps out with the business by cooking and selling the food.

On a normal day, Wendy and Carlos wake up at 5:30 a.m. Carlos goes out to sell bread from his aunt’s bakery to earn extra income for the family while his mother prepares breakfast. He then goes home to eat breakfast and prepare for school.

Once Carlos heads off to school at 7:30, Wendy visits the market to purchase vegetables, oil and other supplies Back at home she prepares lunch, does laundry, starts preparing food for selling and other chores, all while taking care of Byron.

When Carlos gets home from school, he starts helping his mom prepare the food.

Carlos enjoys helping his mother make food to sell.

Carlos enjoys helping his mother make food to sell.

“I know how to cook the brown sugar for nuegados and few other things, too,” Carlos said. “It feels good [to help my mother].”

Aside from the nuegados, which are a traditional Salvadoran treat of fried yuccas, Carlos and his mother also make fried yucca with pickled cabbage, french fries with mayonnaise, tomato sauce and cheese, enchiladas and fried meat dumplings called pastelitos.

Carlos is a great support for his mother.

“Carlos never gives up when things get difficult,” Wendy said. “There are days that Carlos gives me encouragement.”

Though Carlos and Wendy work hard to make ends meet, the amount they bring in from selling food isn’t enough to cover all their needs.

Fortunately, Carlos has a sponsor through Unbound.

“I am very grateful to God for being part of Unbound,” Carlos said. “There are things that my mother couldn’t afford that now we can have thanks to my sponsor.”

As part of the program, Wendy and Carlos chose to receive nutritional items, clothes and school supplies as their main benefits. They also take part in the birthday and Christmas celebrations with the rest of the Unbound community in their area.

“I don’t feel as alone,” Wendy said. “I feel like there’s someone at my back.”

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