Broken Eggs

Two broken eggs from a carton bought by this Havana resident who paid 10 Cuban pesos apiece for them.(14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, December 16, 2020 — “When a lady broke two of the eggs I had bought, I almost lost it. I found it difficult to contain myself,” says Luis, a Havana resident who was lucky enough this morning to find thirty eggs for sale in an informal market. But it was a treasure whose value was quickly diminished. He got in line to buy something else but, by the time he was done, only twenty-eight of them were still intact.

“I had gone to the market looking for yucca because I wanted to prepare and freeze some to make sure I would have it for New Year’s,” he said. “I had taken a short cut by avoiding Neptuno and walking along one of the side streets, I heard someone ask, “Hey, kid, what are you looking for?” At the entrance to a ramshackle communal apartment building, a woman who was carrying a child motioned for him to come over.

The woman recited a list of things she had for sale: evaporated milk, potatoes, eggs and shrimp. Other items could be had by walking through a winding corridor with rooms on each side. At the end was a tiny dwelling where he bought the carton of eggs for 300 Cuban pesos (~$12.50 US), the most expensive they have been in a decade.

Since last year it has been virtually impossible to find eggs on the open market. They are rationed and can only be purchased once a month. Each person is allotted fifteen. The first five go for 1.10 pesos apiece; the rest can be purchased at the subsidized price of 0.15 peso.

“I was happy but I wanted to buy some other things so I got in the line for bread,” recalls the unfortunate shopper. “People started getting nervous and began pushing. One lady almost fell on me and broke two of the eggs. I would have counted to ten to calm myself down but I had count to three-hundred for the 300 pesos I had just spent.”


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