They were literally everywhere! One thing that certainly stands out as we drove through Santo Domingo (and other cities in the Dominican Republic) was the massive amount of street vendors.
And no, I don’t mean sidewalk vendors. I mean street vendors.
These are dudes that walk around on the street selling things to people stopped at the intersections. Some sell bread and other food items, others offer pre-paid phone cards to charge up your mobile device. Some are trying to move the inventory of hand-woven straw hats and baskets that they’ve made.
I even saw a gentleman in the car next to me buy a bag of goldfish… and it wasn’t the cracker kind! Yep… actual fish swimming in a baggie of water!
Then there’s my personal favorite. It’s the guy selling children’s toys with a Spiderman kite flying right over his head as if it were some sort of banner advertisement for his little business.
So often we perceive people living in poverty as lazy. But I was seeing something different here. Impressed with the hustle of these men doing whatever they could to make a few bucks, I turned to Pete and said something like, “man, these guys are really working hard out here in the hot sun!”
We swapped a few observations about the workers we saw. Then I recalled seeing people doing the same thing in other countries I had visited… Kenya, Uganda, and Haiti. I told Pete, “in fact, the only place I haven’t seen this yet is in the United States.”
Granted, I haven’t been everywhere… But it was an interesting trend seeing this kind of activity only in poorer countries.
Then Pete replied, “Yeah, all we do is hold up signs asking for money.”
For more from this trip check out the dominican republic diaries.