Chicken Bus Chronicles: El Ayudante

Chicken Bus Chronicles: El Ayudante

Ayudante is title for the guy in the orange shirt. El ayudante, the helper or assistant has in reality many jobs and a meager salary. For starters he’s primary job is to help the chicken bus pilot; that’s where he takes his title. But he is also the fare collector, the usher, the carrier, the loudmouth yeller, the bus washer, the gofer and the list never ends…

The front cover of Prensa Libre this past Sunday had this title as the main header: Transporte Mortal (Mortal Public Transit) and them the following subtitle: Every 8 minutes a bus gets robbed, a crisis that has left 107 dead pilot just this year. Below the entire paragraph in Spanish for those who can read Spanish. Here’s the Google-translated article.

Cada ocho minutos un autobús es asaltado o sus pilotos son extorsionados en Guatemala, lo que hace un total de 200 al dí­a, según los empresarios del transporte urbano. Pero esta práctica ha tenido consecuencias aún más nefastas para el paí­s: 107 pilotos asesinados, casi medio centenar de familias enlutadas por extorsionistas —que muchas veces tienen cara de niño—, y más de millón y medio de usuarios afectados a punto de quedarse sin medios para trasladarse a sus lugares de trabajo. (continue reading…)

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  • Look at his pants! 🙂 He could be straight from Anderson with those droopy drawers and that hat. 🙂
    Not being a mom, I didn’t learn until a co-worker shared that one of the “fashions” is for teen boys to wear multiple layers (like the plaid boxers in the frame above, which are probably worn over the “real” underwear). It causes her pain, as her sons’ vanity increases her washing load. 🙂

  • MO

    When I was a kid living in Guatemala City I had to take public buses to get to/from school. I don’t remember ayudantes on the regular city buses, only on the inter departamento buses. But anyway, I wonder if the much hated inspector still make their rounds on the public buses. The inspector’s job was to keep the bus drivers honest by randomly getting on any bus and checking to make sure passengers paid the bus fare and had received a ticket as proof of having paid. He had to make sure the driver was not pocketing the bus fare or giving passengers free rides (specially free rides to pretty señoritas). The inspectors would get on the bus and walk up and down the aisle asking for tickets, then cut them in half. My recollection of all inspectors is that they were mean and sometimes let their jobs go to their head. I have not been on a Guatemala public bus for over 20 years and was wondering if inspectors still play this role? Do they still give out tickets (boletos)? Que viva el AYUDANTE!!