Thursday, March 4, 2010

Venting about campo economics

I suppose there is not much hope for this being an optimistic blog entry...but this is the reality in which I live.

Plain and simple, today I am frustrated. I just got off a bus on which I watched a bunch of people of all ages purchase a quack marketed "vitamin" product that I am convinced (by reading the ingredients on the label) does not actually contain vitamins of any kind. It contains like one type of non-essential amino acid if memory serves me correct. Anywho, people are paying 20 cords for this product on the bus, when some of them will surely not earn 20 cords that day. There is surely more health benefit from eating a tomato, yet the pill salespersons on the busses seem to have far more people following their nutrition advice than I do.

Continuing with nutrition, I frequently observe parents buying their kids small bags of processed junk food, such as cheeto-esque chips. One bag typically costs 2 cords; they are small bags though and usually 2 bags are purchased at once. It is a frequent source of empty Calories. Please people, buy EGGS instead of this processed junk. The huevos could actually help the health of the kid and, at 2.5 cords per egg, are extremely affordable!

Lastly, after being asked for a 100 cord (U$5) "loan" this week, I was a bit aflijido. A young mother who lives in very poor conditions and participates in a community bank told me she needed money to make money. She was trying to sell underpriced food items to school kids to earn a buck. The problem is, she wasn`t even earning a buck each day and she wanted me to finance her next investment in ingredients. Turns out the last loan she took from our community bank was taken, with no thought of how it would be repayed, in order to pay the first payment of a television purchased on credit. This is a complete misuse of community banking! With money from the coffee harvest this season, which should be conserved to be used throughout the rest of the year with little to no employment, this small family purchased a television (which probably only receives one or two channels by the way). Oh, she also states that a large chunk of coffee picking money went to the belly of her husband. The coffee money seems like a distant memory already, and there are still beans being picked...

So, essentially, daddy wanted booz and tele-novelas, so his kids have to suffer the rest of the year eating very poco. The family will likely continue to ask for money from me, because they have a 400 cord T.V. payment due every month, and she already took a LOAN to pay the first installment, for this T.V. that was also bought on credit. So, the debt just grows and grows. Since the T.V. was financed, it will probably end up costing around double the original price, by the way.

Living in the moment is part of the culture here, but it certainly makes me a bit sad sometimes when I desperately want to help the home economics in my community, but when families have money, it gets spent like this. I certainly do not intend to judge other people's purchases, but when a family is trying to feed kids, maybe somebody does need to criticize the use of a loan to by a T.V. on credit...or better yet, the necessity of said T.V.


  1. by the way, I did not give the woman a loan, as cold hearted as that might sound. it is just not sustainable and does not educate.

  2. Frustrating to just read it my friend. But I am sure your efforts will not go one fruitless.