It was a small gesture on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s part, but it meant a lot to the produce sellers of Chile.
Clinton paused Saturday during a tour of an open market to buy apio - a celery-like vegetable - and fresh peas from Maria Mondaco. The purchase came after the woman proudly told the first lady she carefully cleans her wares - even handling them with gloves - to guard against contamination.
The first lady’s purchase drew smiles from nearby vendors selling mounds of bananas, ruddy potatoes, deep green artichokes and beans. A throng of reporters, who had been warned against eating raw vegetables and fruits while traveling abroad, stood by hungrily eyeing the bounty.
To make her purchase, Clinton had to borrow some pesos from the U.S. ambassador to Chile.
“I’ll pay you back with interest,” she joked.