My Popcorn Party in Cuzco Peru

My Popcorn Party in Cuzco, Peru

April 2011

Susan and I were part of a team of medical and dental workers who had come to Peru to help the poor indigenous people in the mountains.  We were in Cuzco during Easter weekend before we had to set off to our designated work place.

As part of the Easter religious celebration, there was a big parade.  It was very long and solemn and depicted the death of Jesus.  The procession snaked through the city very slowly and reverently as mourners remembered the sacrifice of the Savior with slow drum beats and music.

We were determined to see the parade and decided to pick a spot on the parade route on the huge steps outside the Catholic Cathedral. The steps were almost like bleachers and overlooked the main town square.  We were not sure how soon the parade would get to our spot but many locals were gathering in this area.

We waited and waited.  Nothing even looked like the procession was coming.  A mother with a little boy and girl carried a big basket to a place where we were sitting.  The big basket was filled with sacks of popcorn.  The little boy and girl started going up and down the street selling the popcorn.  I noticed that they did not have much success.  There was about 8 in our group so I thought that it would be nice to just go down and buy 8 bags of popcorn.  When I got to the big basket I saw that they had about 40 bags.

I asked the little boy how much a bag of popcorn cost and I think it was like 50 cents.  I then asked how much it would be to buy the whole basket!  He did not understand what I was asking.  I thought how fun it would be to buy the whole basket and then give it out to the people sitting on the bleachers.

One of our group spoke Spanish and so she asked the little boy.  He ran and got his mom and we negotiated a price for the whole basket.  It was like $20.  I started giving the popcorn away to the children that were around us.  They loved it!

As soon as I paid the mom the $20, the little boy took off on a dead run to somewhere.  We couldn’t figure out where he had gone.  He was all smiles.  After 10 minutes I realized why he ran so fast.  He returned with another big basket full of bags of popcorn!  He was one sharp little business man.  When he saw that he was sold out of product he immediately took off for more.

As the little girl and mom handed out the free popcorn, the audience of children in the bleachers literally mobbed them.  I tried to control the give away but was rather unsuccessful. I was totally pleased with the results in that the little family were successful in selling their popcorn.  That was the best $20 I have ever spent!

These are not the boys but they looked just like these boys.

Gordon Carter

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