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  • Writer's pictureKelly

A Trip to the Hardware Store

One of Steve's greatest joys in life is strolling down the aisles of Home Depot or Lowe's. Even without a specific project in mind, he gets lost in the possibilities.

The hardware store experience in Honduras is...well, different. Thankfully, there is no shortage of them. It feels like every corner has one―sometimes two or three side-by-side. And while that makes hunting for a particular item easier (if one store doesn't have it, just move on down the street to the next one), the search for a simple wall screw can still take an hour. The stores are usually small, cramped and overstuffed with products. And no clearly organized aisles divided into categories like plumbing, electric and paint. In fact, you can't even look at or touch the products at a Honduran hardware store. Everything is kept behind a counter attended by a clerk. So you have to ask for the item...meaning you have to know what that item is Spanish. And trust me, "doohickey" and "thingamabob" just don't translate.

Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time waiting around a hardware store while Steve struggled to communicate exactly which whatchamacallit was necessary. And, lately, I've been impressed by the number of women we've met working in these stores.

Meet Vilma. Ask her what size tube you need to install an electric water heater and she can tell you that and recommend an appropriate adhesive.

These aren't just your everyday clerks. They know everything about seemingly everything. From light bulbs to table saws and screws to generators, these ladies know their hardware. Now I know that there are plenty of women that are experts in maintenance, plumbing, wiring, etc. in the USA. But it feels like every mom-and-pop shop here in Honduras has their very own Beth the Builder. And, quite frankly, I'm impressed...and a little intimidated by their super powers!


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