“Eat what you kill” is an old saying among sales people. It refers to working in a very competitive environment where you get no support from your team and your survival is based on what ever you can personally produce. It refers to the hunter who leaves for many days to hunt down game but finds enough only to feed himself on the trail. When I visited the Otavalo (Peru) Saturday market this sense of subsistence living took on a rather visual meaning. I observed the indigenous Quechua people from all around the Sacred Valley of the Incas coming to a central market to barter their wares, livestock, and produce. The Quechua people live, for the most part, in a subsistence economy. Some are more successful than others but the economy as a whole is a subsistence economy.
In this first photo story, I bring you into the Otavalo animal market where families face the cold reality that their livestock, that might have served as the family pets, are going to be sold, slaughtered, and eaten. You can see the mixed emotions on peoples faces from young children to grown adults.
The frugal nature of a subsistence economy becomes quite obvious when you look at what the Quechua people buy in the food market. Vegetarian fare is considered a poor man’s meal. Meat is considered a symbol of wealth. When animals are slaughtered, every part of the animal is eaten, except perhaps, the bones. This second photo story documents many of the meat items offered for sale in the market.