Here in Curahuasi, one way to earn a little extra cash and simultaneously serve your neighbors, is to convert the front room of your house into a store. They all sell the same things: bags of rice and sugar, pasta, sodas, water bottles, small round bread (five for thirty cents), candy, small packets of tomato sauce, mayonnaise, seasoning, and one million other things stuffed onto shelves, so much random inventory that you just have to ask for what you want because you’ll never be able to pick it out by the light of the single light bulb suspended from the ceiling. It is not an exaggeration to say that every seventh house or so has a tienda de abarrotes (grocery store– very, very loose translation) in front.
On Friday, David was talking about going to college in the US (forward-thinking lad), and he said, “I think I’ll start a little store in my dorm room. I can think of things that college kids would like to have and I’ll sell them– maybe popcorn, Coke, candy, notebooks… Then people don’t even have to go out of the dorm to get what they need.” A discussion of zoning laws ensued which blew the kids’ minds. “They can tell you how you have to use the buildings in the US?” Peter mentioned that beer might be something college kids would be really interested in. This left David with a bit of a dilemma as he balanced the need for profit to maintain his store with his concerns and fears of drunk people. Life with american kids growing up in Peru!