There are 3800 different types of potatoes in Peru. Everybody agrees that the birthplace of the potato is in South America. If you have ever feasted on the potato-based delicacy Papa Rellenas in a restaurant in Piura, Peru, chances are Gabriella made them. Papas, as the locals say, means “stuffed potato” and like most creole dishes are eaten with plain garlicky rice and salsa criolla.
Gabriella, along with her family (mother, sisters, and sons), makes this favorite Peruvian dish daily and sells the Papas to restaurants. It is a tedious process that requires washing and cooking the potatoes, then peeling them as fast as possible while they are hot and grinding them. Seasonings, salt, oil, meat, and various other ingredients (like eggs, raisins, olives, etc.) are added to the potato. Then the mixture is rolled into a ball and fried. This is Gabriella’s family business.
“We all work as a family. We are Christians. My dad passed away six years ago, so we all help our mom,” says Gabriella. She is a leader and has taken on the responsibility of growing the business by obtaining a loan with Peru Mentors International one year ago.
Before becoming involved with Mentors Peru, the family used to buy one sack of potatoes (50 kilos). Now, thanks to their microloan and business training, they are able to buy 20 sacks every three days. This allows them to make significantly more Papas, which they deliver via moto taxi to restaurants all over Piura.
Gabriella’s income has increased from 30 to 150 Nuevo soles per day. She is very excited about her family’s future.