When Life Gives You Limes...

While working in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic on the M/V Caribbean Mercy we had some locals working on board.  Samuel was a young guy (15) who was brought on in the galley (kitchen) because he came to work with his mom who worked in housekeeping and we could use the help and they could use the extra income.

Samuel's English was limited and so was my Spanish (although it was a lot better then than it is now) but we got along fine finding him tasks to do in the galley.

One day we got these tiny limes locally grown that were only about as round and big as golf balls, with many of them smaller in size.  About 100 or more came to us and I definitely wanted to use them but was concerned with the amount of time it was going to take to squeeze or 'juice' them.

Not giving it to much thought, I passed this tedious job on to Samuel thinking it would be something good to keep him busy and he was young and strong enough maybe his hands would not cramp or feel bad after juicing all those limes.

After about 20 minutes Samuel came back with a small pitcher of lime juice and told me 'finished'.  Really?  Si.  Samuel showed me all the lime peels flattened to a pulp!  I asked Samuel how he did this, and how so fast.

Samuel picked up one lime he had saved, cut it in half, put the half in our garlic press, and squeezed the death out of it...Wow!  I am not sure I would have ever thought to do that.  Juiced it perfect, quick, and easily...also preventing the seeds from falling in the pitcher.

It sounds cliche, but this was an 'Ah-Ha!' moment for me.  I pawned off a job I didn't want to do only to learn something valuable from the result.
  • Just because you can't think of a better way to do it, doesn't mean there isn't.
  • Stay humble, it helps to not destroy your ego when a 15 year old boy teaches you something new in your own profession.
  • Problem solving seems to come easy to some people, recognizing it sure does help.
I gave Samuel plenty of other jobs while he worked with us, some of them were just so I could see how his mind worked and how he went about accomplishing the tasks.

Besides being a great addition to our galley crew Samuel made one of the best Ceviches made with Conch (edible sea snail) I have ever tasted.