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Faaea’s Story: Providing Tasty Food to Start the Morning

Occupation: Pancake Stand

Location: Samoa

Long before most residents in the village of Matafaa rise in the morning, industrious Faaea is wide awake, preparing the oil and batter to make the Samoan pancakes that will feed much of her village as the day begins.

Living in difficult conditions—in a home with no walls, a dirt floor, substandard sanitation, no access to running piped water and limited access to electricity—Faaea made the most of her initial loan from MicroDreams. She bought a small gas oven to heat vegetable oil that she was able to buy in bulk, as well as large sacks of flour and sugar. The process is simple: mix up the batter, heat the boil, then drop loosely shaped mounds of batter in the the oil to fry until golden brown. The result is a tasty and inexpensive food to start the morning.

Faaea’s biggest sales come between the hours of 6 and 8am. Each pancake sells for a mere ST$ 0.10 (about US 3 cents), but with sales of 2,000 units per week, Faaea is able to add ST$ 200 (about US$ 60) per week to her family’s income. She and her husband have 7 children, 6 of whom still live at home and all of whom now regularly attend school now that Faaea and her husband can afford the required school fees thanks to her additional income.

With such a large sales volume each week, the biggest lesson Faaea is learning is the value of her hard work. She says, “The program encourages me to work. All day I think about my business and how I can make it better. Then when I go to sleep at night, I dream about work.”

Faaea seems to enjoy working harder and has an improved image of herself as a provider and caretaker for her family. Even with her new business acumen, Faaea has not lost her sense of Samoan hospitality. Any visitor she receives into her humble fale is sure to come away with some hearty laughs and a very full stomach.

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