Every week, María Julia knows there is one day when she has to get up very early to start her journey to “La Tiendona”, the wholesale market. There, she buys in bulk all the raw materials she needs to create her products- plantain, yuca, and potato chips and and homemade sweets. Returning from the market is a challenge. A taxi ride from the market is very high so she takes the bus instead. With such a heavy load, she pays someone to help her load and unload it from the bus. It’s very time consuming, but it’s the cheapest way to get the goods from the market.
All her life, she has worked in the informal sector. She never attended school. Not knowing how to read and write has limited her activities but this hasn’t stopped her from supporting her four children and putting them through school. Maria Julia and her partner, since she was 12 years old, live with one of their sons and his daughter. Her partner is very ill so he does not work but he supports her in what he can.