I have a friend who is very special, with a nice name, which I am not going to say here to avoid problems, even though half the city knows her.

She is tall, good-looking, intelligent, articulate, university-educated, among other things.  Previously, her hair, like fire, fell in cascades over her shoulders; now she keeps it cut short, to save money.

My friend has traveled half the world, and has mingled and been photographed with the stars of European and Hollywood movies.  She is hard-working, highly skilled, and the only thing she has never done is rest.

My friend dresses elegantly, as any rag that she puts on automatically becomes a designer original from a boutique. But when she arrives home, she faces reality.

Having put in an eight-hour day and faced the vagaries of public transport, she has to deal with her old fan, which she has to hit to make it work; the toilet, which is also old — the same one that has been in the apartment when it was built half a century ago — requires her to pour buckets of water in to get it to flush. When she turns on the TV, snow and ghosts cover the screen, but my friend still manages to see her soap operas. In her home almost nothing works. Despite her best efforts, her education, and her dedication to work, my friend has nothing; pardon me, she does have many friends who love her, though over time there are fewer, for as they face similar situations, they have decided to leave, some in front and others following after.

My friend, a beautiful and intelligent woman, who from early youth has worked at the same institution, of which she was a founder, has no air conditioning, no microwave or internet, or even a savings account for her old age. She has only memories, good and bad, and feels frustrated and used. Maybe some day they will give her recognition, and a posthumous medal. She, like many believed in the project, and for this and so many other reasons, we are here, as my grandmother said, to serve God and yourself.

Translated by: Tomás A.