Saturday, February 11, 2012

How the Guatemalans do a Vendor Gig

This is especially for all of my vendor friends.  How would you like a permanent booth space, well located, great huh? Now let's say you have to build the booth from some sticks, and some rough boards everyday. This is the family's vendor space out the window of my apartment in Panajachel.
The dad of the family, who looks in his 60's, where did those young kids come from?, comes every morning about 6:30am and begins to build the structure.
Along the wall, there are a few 1x2's left attached permanently, so that helps in that area. Off to the side he creates 8 extra feet, free standing with a few sticks and one long continuous rope.  He builds a platform, lays the boards together in the right order, no nails are ever used. The long poles are woven to each other in a large square.

Building the booth, alone, every morning
Check it out, the addition is made! All of the supporting poles and the cross poles are tied using the same long rope. I have watched him breakdown and the rope just keeps going as he un-loops each area.To tie the higher areas which he can't reach, he makes the loops using the pole in his hand. He never gets on the chair, building or breakdown! Some kind of amazing art just keeps going on.

Now the tablecloths go on and an awning, more sticks, is fashioned.  As the day goes on, he will remove the awning. When it rains, plastic replaces the cloth awning.
The merchandise goes out.  At some point here, mom and an about 12 years old girl sometimes shows up. Depends on if it is a school day, the children go to school from 7am to 1pm. I have seen a small boy, not sure if he is theirs. Dad gets some help with the last bit of merchandise. The set up takes 3 hours!

The family sells all day, into the night. Break down takes an hour if all the family helps out. All of the structural work is only done by the man. I have seen them take a day off, I hear from others this is not usual.

Mom and Dad sit waiting for customers


  1. Is that the all night screamin' evangelico church behind this gentleman's shop?

  2. No, it is the house of the Catholic Church, has 3 bells in arched towers to the side to call meetings. Not used often, just for special juntas of Nuns and Priest. Solola radio is housed in a tiny building in the front of the yard.