A Peanut Vender Story

Osmel Almaguer

Peanut Seller. Foto: Caridad

Teresita sells peanuts at the bus stop.  She and her only grandson depend on her earnings to survive.

She’s formally retired but her Social Security check amounts to nothing.  As for her grandson — who has no one but her to count on in life — he lost his mother in a traffic accident only to be abandoned by his father, who headed out to sea on a raft.

At 77, Teresita suffers from severe circulatory problems.  Her legs often become inflamed, so she’ll usually sell her peanuts sitting on a rock, pregonando (hawking) her wares loudly.

She knows she has to be strong.  Her aim in life now is to educate her grandson and make him a strong and good man.  For this she gets up early every morning and goes to bed late.  She spends much of her time taking care of this little business.

Buying the raw materials (sheets of white paper that are stolen from stores and workplaces for the paper cones, and peanuts at 20 pesos a pound), in addition to roasting, packaging and selling leave little time to take care of the house (washing, cooking and seeing to all the problems that occur all the time).

In the afternoons, she religiously sits on her stone crying out “peanuts, peanuts, come on, get your hot peanuts here.”  Yet her mind is far away.  She’s planning what they’ll do for food that evening, thinking about what time she has to pick up her grandson from school, and so on.

People will buy cucuruchos (cones of peanuts) from her, though oblivious of her daily drama.  Sure, it would be too much to ask them to stop a moment to watch, they have their own problems – conflicts that no one else will resolve for them because these individuals are the only ones who care about them.

In this way Teresita is likely to end her day trying to help others.  First her grandson, who’s most in need, and then all those people who buy her peanuts to stave off their hunger en route home.

A cucurucho of peanuts only costs a peso, but it provides the body with a few calories.  They aren’t very filling, but any other street food costs one or two days’ wages for the average worker.