Léon, Nicaragua            October 13, 1998

Lee Cruz and his brother came to the coop to say goodbye yesterday afternoon.  Lee leaves for the States on Thursday.  The weavers had been talking about Lee all day; they truly love him for the good man he is.  They kept talking about the many things he has done for Nicaragua for hours after he left.

Rosa Maria is a great cook.  She did a lot of lunch preparation for me for my other hostesses, too.  Yes, Mirna did cook for me at her house despite Cecilio’s doubts, but she counted a lot on Rosa Maria’s help.  Rosa presents such a pretty plate for me, I assumed she had worked in a restaurant as a salad girl (okay, okay – salad woman?  Salad person?).  But she said no, she had never worked in a restaurant.  She had had her own table to sell food on the street, that was all.  “But I pay attention,” she said.  She watches how it’s done on television.  Smart woman.

One day Cecilio was visiting Mirna when she fixed my dinner.  He got a big hoot out of it when he saw she had forgotten to give me a fork, so I was eating my cabbage salad with my fingers, Nica style.  Another time she had prepared a bowl of segmented grapefruit for me for breakfast and forgot to give me a spoon or fork to eat it with.  When her sister Iselda saw me eating it with my fingers she scolded Mirna, but spunky Mirna just said I didn’t need a spoon I could eat like them.  Iselda laughed and said, “It tastes better from the hand, doesn’t it, Elenita?”

“Of course,” I said.

When in Rome, etc.


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