The other night, Jon Stewart did a segment on the conservatives’ contradictory views about the rich and poor when it comes to deciding how to lower the deficit. Fox News reported their break down of what constitutes “Poor.” According to their break down, “If you have a refrigerator, you probably don’t need any financial assistance.” The Poor’s Free Ride is Over.
I wouldn’t have found that statement so absurd if they were discussing Nicaragua because it’s true…only the rich have refrigerators. Living in La Paloma, surrounded by poverty, I constantly think about what constitutes “Poor.” Ron and I are by no means rich, yet, to our neighbors who live in a little one room shack with a dirt floor, we are wealthy beyond their wildest imagination.
It’s all relative, but try to explain that to our neighbors when we came home three days ago with a new motorcycle and a washing machine. I tried to explain to Marina that Ron sold his Harley Davidson in the states and that’s how we could afford to buy a new motorcycle and a washing machine. Of course, the first question all Nicaraguan’s ask is, “How much did you pay for that?” Our automatic response is always, “It was on sale, so we got a good deal.”
Marina’s family has joined the ranks of the rich, now. We did get a good deal because not only did we buy a washing machine and a motorcycle, we bought a small refrigerator for Marina’s family at the same store. We are learning the art of bargaining! They practically threw it in for free when they saw us with cash-on-hand for the total purchase. Credit and small monthly payments are king in Nicaragua. Credit cards are an unheard of luxury! La Curaçao clerks said we are their best customers. It’s no wonder because it is practically the only place on the island where we can use our credit card.
Marina loves to cook and we thought that if she had a way to refrigerate food, she could cater to the workers building the new airport down our road. Now that I have a washing machine, Marina needs a new job. The refrigerator is a small one, so it won’t use much electricity.That is when we have electricity! Lately, Disnorte-Dissur, the distributors of our electricity have been in a rationing mode. Like clock-work, we lose power from 6 pm to 8 pm every night.
Our refrigerator is full of food that Marina brings over to our house almost hourly! She trimmed Ron’s mustache and cut his nose hairs yesterday. I am grateful for my new washing machine, and Marina is grateful for her new refrigerator. Things are looking up in our little community of La Paloma.
Hanging my first load of freshly washed clothes on our clothesline, it dawned on me how to fix the debt crisis dilemma. What if all the rich people would buy the poor people new refrigerators? It may be a simple solution to improving the lives of the desperately poor. After all, according to Fox News, “If you have a refrigerator, you probably don’t need financial assistance.”