Monday, August 22, 2016

An honest day's work for an honest day's pay

This is Mike...
Elise and I are always amazed at how hard people physically work, here in Nicaragua. Setting aside the issues of why one system is different than another for a moment, these people truly work incredibly hard. We constantly see job sites where heavy machinery should be, only to be worked with shovels and backs. The heat alone is a huge impediment for most to be working in such demanding jobs. However, these people work hard because they have to. Sadly, there is a near endless supply of cheap labor willing to work in the event anybody complains. Thus, with an abundant supply of workers, wages stay depressed and with Nicaragua's baby boom there is little reason to believe things will change any time soon. Still, the girls and I are so impressed with how hard people work in order to make a living. We are constantly humbled.

These 3 men are expected to repave, by shovel and wheel barrel, 100 meters of street a day with heavy wet asphalt. The only machinery used at this job site was the dump truck that dropped the wet asphalt on the road.

These men just start working and finish when the asphalt is done.

It was over 90F degrees (32C degrees) and humid and these guys just worked and worked.

One does not have to go far, in Nicaragua, to see self employed people doing their thing. On the street in front of our own home we see industrious people working all the time, trying to make ends meat. Some of our neighbors turn their homes into eateries during certain hours of the day, to make some additional income. Others provide car washes and still others carry their business door to door. A couple days ago I had to get a two knives sharpened. As it so happened a man set up his sharpening station right across from our house. He sharpened two of our kitchen knives, to razor sharpness, for 30 Cordobas (about a dollar). The busy kitchens next door to our house had their knives and cleavers sharpened by the same man. This gives meaning to the phrases buying local and supporting local businesses. There are countless examples of people just doing it, people who were handed lemons and in-turn making lemonade. Believe it or not, the images of people working in the neighborhoods and the streets humming with life was what we most missed when we went back to the states last year. Nine months ago, shortly after arriving back in the US, I wrote a blog entry about how I missed the human interactions and how modern life has become ever more insular. . Quirks and all, this place has more positives than negatives and we often remark how Nicaragua feels perfectly imperfect.

The knife sharpener guy is much nicer than the picture would suggest.

Our favorite kitchen knife made much better after sharpening.

Two separate neighbors have their house doors open selling different breakfast items.

Our produce man selling goods to our neighbor. This is the same neighbor our monkey climbed into her house and jumped on her couch while she and her two teenage daughters were watching soap operas. She still jokes about her screams as she and her daughters jumped up from the couch after seeing the monkey, she is such a nice lady to have as a neighbor.   

Our produce man comes loaded with produce and even fresh eggs in the back crate. His prices are identical to those of the local supermarket.

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