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In response to the question “what was your first paid job?,” people shared stories about performing cleaning, cooking, and childcare services.

This graphic shows the diversity of jobs that respondents mentioned. A few categories dominate: domestic services (“empleado domestico), sales (“ventas”), food preparation and services (“preparacion y servicios de comida”), and laundry services (“lavado de ropa”).

Thus, while the best well-known institutions in the city of Esmeraldas are the refinery and the local government, in our sample of neighborhoods throughout the city, very few people mentioned ever having been employed in these. Most of the respondents mentioned self-employment in social reproduction services and self-employment in commercial sales (e.g., clothes, shoes, and electronics for household consumption). The Viernazo is one of the best known sales places, as well as the city center.