Recently, I was talking to my uncle about life in Batahola. I was explaining him how I go to one person’s house to buy fruit and veggies, another to buy beans or tortillas, and another to buy anything from bread to beans to soap. While I was trying to explain this, he just could not seem to grasp it. I figured this concept of shopping at what are known as “ventas” or “pulperias” is probably foreign to many of us, as it was to me just a few months before.
Since many people in Nicaragua work in the informal economy, many of our neighbors have stores in their homes. These stores sell anything and everything from matches, produce, meat, tortillas, piñatas or clothes. Instead of shopping in the super market, it is much cheaper and faster to go to the venta. When I am in the middle of cooking, and realize I need one more tomato, I run to the fruit man’s house, which is about one block away. In the morning, if I want to whip up an egg, I walk to the tortilla lady’s house and buy one egg. One egg is 4 Córdobas, or $1.78 a dozen. It has been an adjustment to buying food in smaller amounts more frequently; I practically go to the fruit venta everyday! However, I enjoy the social experience of shopping at the venta and getting out of the house and walking around the community. Here are some pictures of our tortilla lady’s store!