Customs

Boys Work Carrying Heavy Bags in Cuzco’s Markets

A Boy Carrying a Bag of Potatoes

From time immemorial, we know our ancestors were very strong because they ate Andean food. Even today features from those times remain. In the city of Cuzco our parents mostly come from rural communities and from an early age they teach their boys to be men. They feed them foods from their own fields. They also teach them to chew coca so that they are filled with energy.

In some families there is no father at the side of the mother and the children. There it is quite sad, since the boys, whether they are small or large, become the men of the home and have to go into the city to earn some coins to take home to their mother.

Many of these boys from seven years old have to go to work in the city’s markets as bearers because they are strong enough to lift the bundles and bags of produce. Trucks arrive everyday filled with produce. It is sad to see the little boys bear the weight of  bags filled with the trucks’ goods.

Boundles of Potatoes in the Market
Boundles of vegetables in the Market

The boys have to work because of the great amount of poverty on the edges of the city, such as in the towns of Anta, Sicuani, Pisac and other provinces of Cuzco. It is sad to see these boys having to work, as if they were discarded.. But what can we do. Here in Cuzco we have one of the world’s greatest marvels, Machu Picchu, that generates a lot of money. But all that money disappears because of the corruption of our upper level authorities. We have everything and at the same time have nothing.

These boys, as well as some older men, come to the largest markets of the city to find work, such as San Pedro, Cascaparo, and Vino Canchon. They go early to wait for someone to contract them to work, or sweating their T-shirt, as they say.

An old Worker in the Market
An Old Worker in the Market

The vendors, caseras, employ them to carry their sacks and bundles of produce from the trucks to their stands. The bearers work with wheelbarrows in which they carry everything. If the stand is just down the sidewalk they simply push the wheelbarrow. But there are stands that are upstairs and for those the boys have to do more physical work. They carry the sacks on their backs while bending over. With tears of sweat they get the bags to their destination.

Payment is according to the size of the bag and how far they have to be carried. The boys charge from 1 to five soles and, in this way, they work hard to feed themselves as well as their families.

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