Léon, Nicaragua             September 13, 1998

The people I stay with don’t have refrigerators.  This posed a problem for me because we get so many warnings in the states.  The women all try to be nice to me and it was killing me, trying not to hurt their feelings, but I often just could not eat all they got for me.  I don’t want two yogurts on top of a meal, for example, and if they bought tuna fish I had to eat the whole darned can because I sure as heck wasn’t going to eaT what was left over the next day, after it sitting and not being refrigerated.  I won’t eat mayonnaise that sat in the heat the next day, either.

Going through town on the bus one day I saw some Rubbermaid thermal chests, bigger than the lunch boxes and six-pack carriers. But small.  I bought one to use at the co-op, along with some little plastic containers so I could save the tuna fish – make one can last four days, for example.  The weavers marveled at the little ice chest.  I had not seen them in Léon in past years.

Eventually Mirna and I took a morning to go to town.  Those little ice chests had been all over town, but they had sold fast and I had a hard time finding them, going from store to store, buying one for each weaver.  When we got back to the co-op and I told them they were for them, in less than a half hour they were planning a trip to Poneloya Beach.  They could take ice and fruit, ice and food, ice and drinks.  It was a kick listening to them, and a little sad to know what a luxury they now had, something so common to us at home.

Mirian’s sister-in-law, who lives next door, doesn’t work in a tee shirt factory in Guatemala this year.  She quit that job and now works as a domestic in Managua.  Her 16-year-old daughter, Cecilia, runs the household while her mother is away.


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