Not For Sale

Rosario Lopez emerged from the back of her pulpería in Barrio Guadalupe when her husband, Fidel, called for her. He didn’t want to speak and said she was the mujer encargada — woman in charge.

“We make only enough to survive,” Lopez, 67, said of the family pulpería named after her.

She shook her head slowly, her tired eyes looking into the distance.

“Right now, businesses are bad,” Lopez said. “I imagine it’s because everything is so expensive, so people can’t buy as much.”

Unlike many pulperías in Tegucigalpa that are painted red as promotion for Coca-Cola, Lopez’s business is painted a bright blue for Pepsi. The iron bars that protect Lopez and her husband from the outside world are painted the same shade, except where they’re rusted.

Though the inside of the store is very dark, bags of potato chips and other snacks glisten under the small streams of light that pour in.

Lopez said she hasn’t thought of selling, even if business is very slow. As she spoke, Fidel stood quietly behind her, listening.

“Until now, no, because we depend on this,” Lopez said, shaking her head at the thought. “We don’t work. We’re of the tercera edad (seniors). This is what we live from… to survive, as they say.”

The International Women’s Media Foundation supported Amaris Castillo’s reporting from Honduras as part of the Adelante Latin America Reporting Initiative.