Following instructions in Spanish, not always understanding

This Tuesday (as in a past Tuesday I am talking about, not the most recent Tuesday or next Tuesday) the financial education part of the gathering was a clear failure.  I talked about savings and how with knowing how your money is being spent you can find the things you could live without and save that money for a stated goal or for an unexpected time of emergency.  Talked about how saying just a little each week will add up and such.  What I got back was Ashley you know we don’t have savings.

Okay moving on.  Then we made some menthol, along the lines of vapor rub.  Let me tell you this is a real crowd pleaser.  I got the chemicals at Casa Jarabocoa in Villa Consuelo in Santo Domingo.  And then Anna taught me where the container store was located on San Martin between Duarte and Maximo Gomez.

Now I had participated in making this during Community Based Training, but about 2 years ago it wasn’t anything I recalled with great clarity.  The direction are written in Dominican Spanish and I read over them, but felt that the women would help me with anything I wasn’t clear on.  So I tell them we need a baño de agua.  They ask me how much water to use, I explain I am uncertain what do they think a baño de agua means.  I tried calling Anna who had made menthol with her group multiple times, but no answer.  Never getting an answer from the Dominicans either, I just allowed them to decide how much to add.  We then carefully heat the Vaseline without letting it boil because then it could light on fire.  When it comes time to dish out the menthol I find we have much more than 50 1 ounce containers’ worth.  Luckily some people had brought their own jars, so we used that.  Probably could have filled 100 containers.  I did the filling and because of the menthol my eyes were watering like a flowering pot by the end of the batch.

Later when I am talking to Anna she says it means double boiler.  What the Dominicans more frequently call baño maria.  I tell Anna, well the menthol still seemed strong enough, so I found a way to make more product.  I did tell the group what I found out the next week and a few gave me a oh yeah type of response.  Why couldn’t they have thought of it the week before?  I don’t know.

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Formula de Mentol


– 1 Kg. de vaselina sólida

– 1 cucharón de alcanfor  (moler en trozos antes de añadir)

– ¾ cucharón de salisilato de metilo

– ½ -1 cucharón cristal de mentol (mientras mas cantidades agregues, mas fuerte será y por tanto mas caro)

*(Tu puedas echar hojas de eucalipto o estacas de canela)


En una olla delgada (cacerola) en madera, carbón o en una estufa, poner en un baño maria, la vaselina en la olla reservando unas pocas en una funda  (bolsa).  Combine la vaselina, pero hay que tener cuidado de que no hierva porque pueda crear un fuego grande.  La vaselina deberá estar completamente clara cuando mezcla.  Cuando todo este completamente mezclado, remueva del fuego.  Remueva los palitos y las hojas.  Añada el alcanfor, el salisilato de metilo y los cristales de mentol.  Mover hasta que este completamente disuelto.  Todo el proceso no toma más de 15 minutos.  Debe estar liquida para que pueda ser servida en las latas del filme.  Es bueno que pongas solo ¾ de la mezcla y después espera hasta que este fría, antes de poner la tapa

1 Kg. Sirve para unos 40 latas del filme.  Lavar bien la olla y la cuchara ya que los restos del mentol pueden producir problemas gástricos.


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