#253 María Celeste Pantoja2018-11-08T16:36:26-04:00

Project Description


#253 María Celeste Pantoja

“I don’t ever take no for an answer”

Pedro Tovar

Stivalis Monsalve

Javier Liendo / Gabriela Mesones

Technovation Series

Los Palos Grandes, Caracas

I live in a slum, but I have different expectations of things. I know what I have to do and how I’m going to do it. I’m one of those people who find a workaround for everything.

The current problem of food is one of people’s main concerns in Venezuela. There are super-long queues to buy flour or rice. Minors can’t buy without our representatives and they spend lots of time working. Sometimes when I arrive from school at night I find nothing to eat because my mom couldn’t leave me anything. Sometimes I leave without eating because we only had two or three ingredients. I have to wait for mom to get home with other things.

There are many people who say they don’t know how to cook without flour or rice, but seeing it from a different perspective I realized that’s not true. I was tired with all those problems in my community, so I created Appetitos. Everyone can get a plate on the table because we made the recipes with everyday products such as legumes, fruits, corn and vegetables. If the person only has oats, papelón and an egg, they can make tasty pancakes. With vegetables, without meat or chicken, we can prepare a great meal: a tortilla or a chop suey. For example, my youngest brother, who’s the inventor among us, made oat cookies, and they were super awesome!

All the recipes in the app were created by Kimberlyn, Eliannys and me. We researched and looked through our grandmas’ cook books.

We’re all pastry cooks in our family. We like sweets, cakes and food. We’re always coming up with new things. I think we got that from mom because she’s the one who inspires us to do everything. She doesn’t let us miss any courses and she always tells us: “Let’s do it!”, “You’ll achieve everything you want!”, “Dream on, my girl.”

My dad is the opposite, though, he’s way overprotective. He tells me: “Don’t do that because that’s a man’s job”, “Don’t do that because you can’t.” But I still fight for what I want because I think we’re very brave, and our bravery makes us accomplish great things. After Technovation, where we won the prize of the audience, my dad keeps quiet and only tells me: “Hum!… Yeah… That’s fine…”

Sometimes young people see our dreams cut short because they tell us that we can’t make it or that we lack talent. That discourages us and makes us renounce our dreams, abandon them, but that’s not the idea because I’m sure that everything has its time and we’ll eventually succeed.

Here in José Félix Ribas barrio people look at us and think that we don’t dream or that we’re not talented, but that’s what they don’t know, because they don’t take young people seriously. I believe we have to go through a great learning process where we can all connect and feel the same.

I admire my brother a lot because he was told: “You’re crazy dude, how are you supposed to do that?”. But thank God, he never stopped dreaming. He wanted to be an architect and he managed to exercise his career; he wanted to be an actor and he made it; he likes graphic design and he did that too. He wants to own a fashion design line and he’s very good at that.

In a few years I see myself as a professional fashion designer and with my own makeup brand also made with alternative materials. I’d call it: Celeste Fashion. My shop will be small, with many mirrors and painted pale pink and white. I’ve already made small shirts, a countryside dress above the knees and right now I want to learn how to make jeans.

I think that, aside from food, looking good is also important. It’s not that people dress poorly, it’s that they forget to groom carefully because they’re running all the time. We don’t need to look good to feel good, but I never forget that there’s a time for everything. If you go to an appointment or a party, why don’t you pamper yourself? I don’t ever take no for an answer.


An Epix Series produced with the support of Impact Hub Caracas and  Fondo de Valores Inmobiliarios.

caracas.impacthub.net       www.fvi.com.ve

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