One Sunday in Mérida, my friend and I were walking next to an outdoor café. While walking, we noticed a hammock seller and his partner trying to sell hammocks to a couple sipping on their coffee. Needing some hammocks, we approached the two men. I ended up speaking primarily to one man by the name Felipe Para. Sr. Para said that he has been selling hammocks for almost fifteen years. Over those fifteen years Sr. Para said that it has become harder to sell hammocks, and that not many people are interested in the job. Also, he said that the job comes with little respect.
Sr. Para went on in detail about how he has a daughter that he loves very much and that he is unhappy that his daughter is ashamed of him because he is a hammock seller. Furthermore, he said that he wants to make his daughter happy but he needs to work, and if she wants a good education he needs to work. Also, he stated that being a hammock seller is better than nothing at all, and he is proud of his work.
Furthermore, Mr. Para said that he learned how to make and sell hammocks from his father who had been working with hammocks his whole life. Mr. Para also said that his whole family worked in making hammocks and it was just the life that was most obvious path to follow. It was somewhat of a family tradition, his mom, dad, and sister made hammocks and his dad and him sold them.
When we were discussing the hammocks, Sr. Para said that it took his wife thirty hours to make each hammock. Also, he said that with the parts of the hammock that he can not use they make into decorations, as to not waste anything. Then at the end of each week he collects all the hammocks that his wife made and travels to Mérida. Next he goes to a particular café and sells the hammocks to the tourists that pass by; this he does every Sunday. Also, he said at times when the tourists pass by he just wants to talk to them but they do not know Spanish or Mayan, or are not interested in talking. But he is more than happy to talk to anyone who wants to hang out or learn some Mayan. With that, he told his friend ï¿½kï¿½osh bakï¿½it lecanoï¿½ and they left.
TravelYucatam.com expresses thanks to Ilvia L. Osceola
University of Florida for permission to reprint this article.