Even though I’m a starving artist who’s behind on the rent and hasn’t paid this month’s electricity bill yet, that’s not how local people see me and I don’t think that will ever change.
The other day my roommate told me somebody was looking for me. A woman with a sick child.
Ay no, not again.
I asked my roommate why she couldn’t have said I wasn’t home, but she just shrugged and locked herself in her room.
So I went downstairs, and indeed, there was a woman with a miserable looking boy standing on my porch. I asked what the problem was and the woman in question said the boy had diarrhea, was severely dehydrated and that there was a strike at the health centre. And that she knew that I am such a persona alegre (Merry??? Me????) and that’s why she came to ask for a ayudita.
Okay, let me see what I can do.
So I went back upstairs, got my purse and took out a little from an already alarmingly small amount of money.
Back down stairs I handed the woman my miserable contribution, for which she thanked me profusely. I was about to close the door when the woman indicated that she wanted to ask me a question.
“Are you that woman from the US who gives out loans, by any chance???”
“No, I am not. I mean, I am not from the US and I don’t give out loans.”
“Oh!” The woman exclaimed, and started giggling. “Then you are the wrong gringa!!!”
“Oh,” I said. “In that case, can I have my money back?”
That caused another bout of laughter.
“You are a very, very funny person!” the woman said, still giggling while she dragged her sick kid off my porch.