Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chivirico makes money

As you know Chivirico is working to fill up his Gatorade bottle in order to have 500 pesos (around US$12) so that he can open a bank account. He has been doing all sorts of jobs such as washing the car, cleaning the yard and feeding the animals to try and fill it up. He has collected bottles as well to sell to the empty bottle man who pays 1 peso each, although he hasn't been seen for a while.  By last Saturday it only had 100 pesos - it seems to go up and down. I am not sure if he is raiding it, or members of his family are. Anyway, he was desperate to earn some more, and watching the people in the street who are always selling things, he wanted to find something to sell.

selling avocados

I suggested we bake some cakes and biscuits then he could sell them. He loved the idea and so on Sunday he was here at 7am (so much for my lie in) and off we went to the colmado to buy the ingredients.  I decided to use my own recipe book, one I wrote myself when I was aged 8 till around 13 I think, as I knew the recipes in there would work. Well I hoped they would.

We were a bit limited for choice, as no chocolate to melt here, no golden syrup, no nuts, so we decided to make shortbread and chocolate brownies.

Once home he started work. I supervised from a safe distance as there was a tendency for the ingredients to fly all over the place. The shortbread was easy, but was hard to roll it out as I don't have a rolling bin - we used a bottle of rum instead.

Once the shortbread was in the oven we moved on to the brownies. A little more difficult as you have to beat the eggs and sugar, and the sugar was not soft brown sugar as specified, but natural cane sugar. More ended up on the floor than staying in the bowl.

Eventually the butter and sugar was sort of there and Chivirico broke the eggs in. I pulled all the bits of shell out, we added flour and cocoa and then he almost neatly put the mixture into the tin and into the oven.

I must say I was a tad concerned as my oven has no temperature control. It has a knob. You can put it to minimum knob, half knob or full knob. Full knob is very dangerous as  the oven sounds like it is about to take off. We put it at minimum knob and prayed. Chivirico then what every kid loves doing and licked the bowl.

In the meantime Chivirico prepared the tray, told me we needed lots of serviettes so that each person would have a serviette for their biscuit or cake and he practised putting the tray on his head and walking up and down shouting what he had to sell.

After checking the clock every minute and sitting sniffing the oven at last they were ready. I must admit I was impressed. The shortbread was fabulous and the brownies, although they didn't rise at all, were chewy and sort of crispy with not using soft sugar. They tasted lovely although a bit sweet which I knew wouldn't worry Dominicans.

We discussed pricing strategy and decided on 5 pesos each and off he went, yelling, "Biscuits and cakes only 5 pesos each. Two for ten pesos!"

Within 10 minutes he was back. All sold. Grand total of 125 pesos which went straight in the pot. He decided we had to do it again the next day. I persuaded him to wait a week, so Sunday we are baking again! At this rate he will be a millionaire.


  1. omg toooooo cute!If I am there next week I will besure to buy the entire tray for the kiddies and the family :)

    1. If you come we will have an extra baking session.

  2. I just love this! Such an entrepreneur!! His toothless grin is so cute. My daughter in France was doing a bank transfer yesterday to your account in the UK, so Chivirico can open a bank account and be on his way to be a

    1. That is fabulous Sami. Thanks so much. I discovered last night that the pot is empty as grandmother took the money to buy flip flops. I wanted the family involved but it isn't going to work so we will keep the pot here now.

  3. That little boy is a hustler! I admire his enthusiasm and determination to make money and open up a bank account he is very lucky to have someone like you to help him along.

    It is very frustrating and really disgusting to see how the family is using his hard earned money to buy things and to share with his siblings. It is this ridiculous attitude that keeps Dominicans from getting anywhere in life. He is a child and his father is the one who should be providing for him and for his basic needs not taking his money to provide whatever.

    I hope that when you finally get to open the account for him that none of his family members have any access to that money as they will abuse it and use the money for themselves and not for his benefit. I believe that that account can be converted into his college fund for when he is older so he has a future out of the barrio. Or he should only be given access to it when he reaches an age where he is mature enough to responsibly manage his finances..... hopefully not Dominican style.


    Although I am not a member of the his FB fan page I saw you posted that he feels like he is always naughty because Santa does not bring any presents for him at Christmas. Perhaps this is because Dominicans don't give presents at Christmas as this time is more about spending time with family and friends. Children get presents on the 6th of January, Dia De Los Reyes.

    1. The bank account has to be opened by an adult so I am not sure what to do. On the one hand it is better to be a member of his family rather than me as if I move away he would not be able to use it. But on the other, I am sure that if they need the money they will take it. He cannot take money out of it until he is 18 and yes it can be turned into a college fund. I think it will have to be me. It is not that they steal his money for the sake of it, but they are poor and if they have no money for food one day and a bottle is sitting there with 200 pesos then they will take it. I think I will have to keep the bottle too.

      He has had no presents on Kings Day either - most of the kids here don't as there isn't the spare money to go around.

    2. Its a sad situation but still what would they do if he was not bringing in money? I hope that all works out for the better and that he is able to save for his future so then he can properly help his family.

  4. what a sweet story and what a sweet little boy!