Sólo he estado en El Salvador cincuenta y siete días…
I just got back from the market after working a half-day at the clinic (yes, we work on Saturdays. Boo.) and wanted to share with you all the joy of the market.
Here are just some things I love about going to the market here in Jucuapa:
- It’s one of the places I’m allowed to go by myself so I love it so much as a place of refuge when I’m trying to be by myself. (It’s safe enough as long as I don’t go deep into the trenches of the market and stay on the outside, as I always do.)
- Food shopping is really therapeutic for me. I love it now just as much as when I moved into my house at UNC (the first time I was really on my own.) It’s all about having a budget, taking responsibility of what I eat, making sure it’s healthy, and having a fun treat on the side
- Markets are a huge thing in almost every country in the world. It makes me feel somewhat nostalgic that for centuries people have gone to the market to buy their locally grown food and here I am doing that in 2013.
- It’s also cool that for nearly everyone that goes abroad, we all have something in common: braving the local market.
- It makes me feel really confident in my language and life skills here in El Salvador. Sometimes I take a second to really soak in the fact that I am buying food in another language by myself and they understand me! I don’t think I can ever get over that.
It’s a shame that I don’t go more often than I’m able to.
But I also wanted to share with you all how amazing shopping is here. Some things cost quite a bit (I’m speaking to you, milk, peanut butter, and butter!) but other things, like fresh fruits and vegetables, cost very little compared to the grocery store in the US. For example, here’s a list of everything I bought today for only $12.71:
- 1/2 gallon of milk
- 6 individual yogurts
- pineapple jelly
- 3 bananas
- 1/2 lb grapes
- 1 mango
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 avocados
- 1 onion
- 1 package of strawberries
- 2 large carrots
- 2 handmade tortillas
- 1 package of oreos (my weakness here in El Salvador)
- 1 coconut donut (fresh!)
Can you believe it?! It’s so opposite of life in the US. Fresh foods (namely, fruits and vegetables) cost so much less that other foods. For example, the mango I bought cost only $0.35 and a small bag of chips in a store costs $0.25 or $0.50! That’s not to say that the poor kids in the town eat healthy at all, though. You usually see them with an ice cream or chips in their hands, which is sad.
But I am so thankful for the hour spent at the market today, enjoying my time to explore, search, buy, and think. The only annoying thing now is cleaning my fresh food before I can eat it. That’s actually what the picture is of at the top of this post. We Americans use a watered-down bleach water to clean the food for about half an hour then thoroughly rinse and let soak in water for another half an hour. Not the most fun thing in the world but it’s better than spending your day in the bathroom