Volunteer Spotlight: Ricardo Martinez aka Man of Mystery

By Stephanie Sheffield


For this “Heating Things Up” edition, I had the pleasure to interview everyone’s favorite Mexican-American man of mystery, Ricardo Martinez. In between his long pauses, and sips of Juan Valdez coffee, I was able to get some good information out of him. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.


Tell us about yourself.

I’m a man of few words.

In honor of the “Heating Things Up” edition, and to pay some homage to your Mexican heritage, what are some common reactions from Colombians when you tell them that you’re Mexican?

Usually they say some reference to spicy food, or they say “No, you’re not Mexican, you’re a gringo,” or “You’re not really American, what are you?” or “¿Hablas mexicano?” (What does that even mean?!)

What would be the recipe for your favorite spicy salsa to heat things up?

The ingredients would be roasted tomatillos, roasted chiles del árbol, roasted garlic, lightly roasted onion, salt, cilantro, and paprika al gusto. Roast it all and put it in a blender and you have the perfect salsa.

What is one food that you have to eat spicy?

That’s a hard question…I would have to say tacos have to have hot sauce…they got to be spicy! I also enjoy hot sauce on eggs, fruit salad, beans, etc.

Speaking of “heating things up,” do you ever get mad? When was the last time?

Last time I was truly mad, when I actually lost it…I was driving age, around seventeen. I got really upset about something and punched a hole through my sister’s bedroom door. Since then, I’ve gotten a little bothered here and there, but I haven’t really lost it to the point where I let my emotions control my actions.

What are secrets you can share for staying cool on the coast?

I don’t need these secrets anymore since now I have AC….but before, I used to have a fan outside blowing air from the patio into my room, and then a fan in my room blowing inside. Lots of fans. I also would always shower before bed, and then I would rub ice cubes all over lying down and I’d leave my hair wet, and try to fall asleep right away, before I started to sweat. But then I got AC. Now I get so cold I don’t even want to move to get up and turn the fan off…now I have tricks for those problems, too.

Give us some wise advice for PCVs in Colombia.

Two things. One: Remember that we chose to be here. Two: Follow your heart.

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