While you’re waiting at the traffic light, you see them passing by, all kinds of people, young and old, each one offering different products for sale: seasonal fruit, flowers, peanuts and pumpkin seeds, cheeses, snacks, and so much more. But… who are they?
For many people, street vendors are the living embodiment of the prevalent informal economy, but for others, they represent an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of our country.
In México, every day is lived intensely and you can witness what it’s like to live in a Latin country. Here, passions run hot and people are eager to work enthusiastically. Mérida is no exception to this, and neither are the salespeople who work on the streets of our city and who offer wonderful and diverse products year round.
You’ll find them conveniently posted at key points of the city, such as outside the Salvador Alvarado stadium or at the many stoplights of Prolongación Montejo. They position themselves at places where you can find them easily and deliver their products to your car window.
While we wait for the light to turn green, we can usually hear the day’s offerings: “pepita y cacahuate!” or “can I clean your windshield?” are some of the most common calls. These hardworking people offer their products and services and are a clear example of how Mexican people are always looking for a way to improve their circumstances. Some of these vendors have been selling from the same spot for generations.
They carry their merchandise each morning to strategic parts of the city. While they walk, they model their products and show off the season’s best “mameyes”, the juiciest mandarine oranges, and the sweetest mangos, so that you can choose a snack while still on the go.
Besides selling fruit, the streets of Mérida always feature “something” for sale: artisanal cheeses, back scratchers, furniture, gigantic Lotería boards, Batman costumes, acrobatic stunts, and people raising money for worthy causes. Depending on the day you’ll probably find something different, so if you like something you better act fast!
On the streets is where we get a taste of the true nature of a country, and in Mérida we see people’s strength and the desire for a more prosperous life. Let’s not take anything for granted. Whether you purchase their products or not, let’s not ignore the people who have found a way to make their living on the streets and recognize that we’re all united in the search for a better future.
Editorial by Claudia Améndola
Photography by Claudia Améndola and Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today.
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