|Career Cigar Smoker, Danlí, Honduras, 2011|
Walking in to one of the cigar factories in Danlí, we were greeted by rows of shy, smiling women waving blue and white bannerlets, the little plastic triangles representing the colors of the Honduran flag snapping gently to and fro amongst the constant hiss of the overhead humidifiers. I found this woman at the far end of the main corridor, waving in a queenly manner and inviting us eagerly for the chance to take a photograph with her. It was dark, warm, and humid on the factory floor. Sweat was barely collecting on her brow, and still here she was, coolly puffing away on a monster of a cigar, a long char of ash dangling from its end, as if in testament to her endurance.
I didn't get much of a chance to talk to her; I did gather that she was somewhere around eighty years old and healthy as the proverbial ox. She claimed to have been smoking cigars daily for the last thirty-five years. I didn't quite get an answer as to what she did, exactly, in terms of employment at the factory, other than stand around looking pretty photogenic.
Not a bad gig, really.