Glimpse: El Guarda


On the first week of June, Guatemalan markets celebrate the Day of the Tenant. This very particular holiday became a thing in 2002, after an executive order which kept the markets public was issued. Since then, all of the markets in Guatemala City have been managed by the municipality. Each has its own manager, though sometimes, the same person manages two or more markets.

One of the markets observing the Day of the Tenant this past week was El Guarda, a place well-known for being in a dangerous area. Murder, drug trade and prostitution are commonplace, and there are countless horror stories surrounding it. Despite this, it is still one of the largest commercial zones in the country’s capital. However, on the day of the celebration, El Guarda’s usually tense atmosphere turned into a festive one. The majority of the market closed down, and its tenants all came together in one big-ass party with live music, and a travelling convite.

So, to commemorate this particular day and El Guarda’s longtime workers, we decided to share some of their stories. Enjoy!

Martín López ,75, beside one of three stands he runs in El Guarda. He’s been working in the market since it moved here from its original location about 50 years ago.


Mimi and Ivonne tend a birthday store in El Guarda. They’ve been working here for over 24 years.


Marta Lidia García used to own a small dinner in the market over 20 years ago. Diner worked caused her to get increasingly sick, so noow she owns a piñata supply store.


30-year old Jesus Tuy has been working as a salesperson for plastic goods at El Guarda for the past 10 years.


15-year old Jenifer Chiroy has been helping her parents local in the market for the past 3 years.


“I’m almost 18,” proclaims Juan Mendoza, who has been selling fruit at El Guarda for the past 8 years.


Claudia Melissa Gil, a 30-year old vegetable merchant who has been in the market for the past 30 years. True Story.


53-year old Eddy Medina began studying medicine in university, but became a holistic product seller at the market instead.


Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditShare on Tumblr


Traditional sweet breads of Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
Let’s talk about sweet, sweet bread
El Salvador's most notable dish: a pupusa. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
El Salvador’s Most Notable Dish
A modern Maya ritual in the ruins of Iximché. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *