Saturday, December 24, 2011

Meet Pit Stop Willie

Willie’s day begins at about 6:00am in the Moshoqueque market. I don’t know why Moshoqueque has its own name…its part of Chiclayo, but that’s what everyone calls it. It’s a farmer’s market. Local farmers start converging on the area at 4:00am with fresh vegetables and fruits. Buyers like Willie are mostly small resellers from Chiclayo and towns as far as 30 miles distant. Prices are very inexpensive, making it cost effective for resellers to sell at a price that covers transportation and still make an acceptable profit.

Prices fluctuate daily so on any given day Willie will buy whatever he feels he can sell the most of at the highest price. For example, at Moshoqueque he can buy bananas for about $1.85 per 100. On the street he’ll sell them at 5 for 37 cents or $7.40 for the hundred. Not a bad profit. The box mounted on his tricycle normally contains bananas, watermelon, pineapples, mangoes, apples, grapes and oranges.

Willie doesn’t ride his tricycle. He pushes it with one hand while announcing his wares through a bullhorn in the other hand. His territory includes the urbanizations of Santa Victoria, Villarreal and Café Peru; about a 5 square mile area. He’s got a distinctive sound…a gentle yet strong voice with sort of a melodic chant. Maribel and I often smile to each other upon hearing his voice off in the distance when walking in his territory. He covers the entire area 3 to 4 times during the course of his 6:00am to 7:00pm day. I couldn’t hazard a guess at how many miles he walks in that time.

What I am sure of is that at least once during the day while selling on our street he will stop momentarily at a small vacant lot near our apartment to heed the call of nature. Which is why we call him Pit Stop Willie.

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