January 28, 2020
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A Lesson in Cultural Math: How Many 6 Inch Tamales Does it Take to Get to Cuba?

A Lesson in Cultural Math: How Many 6 Inch Tamales Does it Take to Get to Cuba?

It's an uplifting story that demonstrates that humanity has no borders. A young woman from Chico, California comes up with an ingenuous idea to literally cook her way to Cuba after her heart calls her to go to the community of Vinales in order to do service work as part of a Bright Light Volunteers global service learning program.

PR Newswire

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- When Sofia Perez, a high school student in Chico, California, let her family know she was participating in a service trip to Cuba with Bright Light Volunteers and needed to raise funds for the program in March her family all jumped in and said "TAMALIZA"!

On that day the very best tamale fundraiser the world has ever seen was born.

Sofia, who is planning on sharing her Yaya's tamale recipe and recreating it with her Cuban host family, is excited about the exchange, " I can't wait to share tamale making with my host family. I think that will be a perfect way to bond and create a connection with their community and express my own."

Although Sofia's initial goal was to cook and sell 50-75 dozen tamales (which would cover about 50% of the service program contribution), with the help of friends, family, and some apparently tamale-starved employees at the local hospital, the Perez family exceeded their goal by about 125 dozen, more than covering the cost of the entire program.

The entire endeavor necessitated the use of multiple refrigerators, three stoves, 7 enormous steamers, and approximately 250 lbs of masa (the dough that is used inside the corn husks that form the tamale). The Perez family also credit numerous friends and relatives as central to their success, especially Tias Ceci and Lili, in addition to the great Yaya, grandmother of Sophie, who may now forever be known as the "Queen of Tamales."

Marysol Perez, Sofia's mother, reports that, "The whole experience was very gratifying, we were overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from everyone. The most rewarding part was the experience of togetherness; family and culture that Sofia gained from participating in her fundraiser, she was in it the whole time. I am still receiving messages from people saying how much they enjoyed the tamales, that they were the best they ever tasted. They tell me they could tell they were made with love… which they were!"

Tamales made with both love and the intent to make the world a brighter place for one and all.

To find out exactly how the Perez family pulled of the Tamale Fundraiser to all fundraisers, please see the full interview with Marysol Perez here: https://brightlightvolunteers.org/latest-news/


About Bright Light Volunteers

Bright Light Volunteers is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, designed to empower program participants and community partners through education and service. Specifically, our programs adhere to global service-learning best practices, which combine community service with both experiential learning in the field and online coursework through our university partner. Our vision is to make the world a brighter place by creating a more peaceful, just, interconnected world where global challenges and opportunities are met by educated, compassionate, global citizens and leaders.


SOURCE Bright Light Volunteers

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