selling yogurt in a pandemic
Even the pandemic cannot mask the appeal and flavor of Yogurt con Amor, an artisan yogurt and cheese factory in Matagalpa. This nutritional product has become a lifeline for mothers who are receiving cancer treatment; for children with problems swallowing; for customers whose doctors recommend probiotics for digestion and other health issues. The yogurt is 100% natural, with no preservatives, the cheeses are derived from the same yogurt. Making and selling yogurt is a service to the community, now performed by masked women, post lockdown.
So, who are these masked women who are keeping social distancing, yet reaching out to their community with products made with love? They are mothers who have children with disabilities, they are women who have a family member with a disability and they are women with disabilities themselves.
The vendors are usually students working their way through university. Selena came to Matagalpa to continue her studies from a local community with fewer educational opportunities. Her family farm is far from Matagalpa, two buses, plus a ride on horseback. She is familiar with milk products since she grew up on the farm making cheese but had never tried yogurt, which uses a fermenting process. Tasting this fermented milk, she was immediately ready to work for the project. Each day she joins the other vendors to bring yogurt to those who need it for health reasons and to those who simply want to enjoy the delicious product. She was working only 3 months when Familias Especiales (FE) went on lockdown, she lives with the mother of a girl with disabilities. Offering to rent a room in their home helped her to work and study. During this time she has also learned to understand some of the needs of children with disabilities. Jobs at Yogurt con Amor benefits students trying to earn an education.
The new pandemic policy is to use masks and face shields when selling and delivering in public. These masked women were dreaming up new products during the lockdown, such as carrot and pineapple yogurt-flan and even a yogurt cake. They are continually searching for recipes that use yogurt as an alternative to heavy cream for making healthier desserts.
As Yogurt con Amor, re-opened the public accepted their service with open hands and hungry stomachs. People know that the funds from the yogurt project keep the children’s lunch program open and promote nutrition for families of children with a disability in Matagalpa neighborhoods.
The now masked women of Yogurt with Love, are grateful for your support, allowing them to serve others and improve their livelihood through employment.