17 Jun, 2013 | Caterina Stahl

Urban living

Photo: Caterina Stahl

Name: Vicente Mayta Rivero
Age: 48
Job: Typewriter

‘I’ve written many letters for people to presidents such as Victor Paz Estenssoro, Hugo Banzer Suarez, and Evo Morales’.

'Me llamo, Vicente Mayta Rivero nací en el año 1965 un 5 de abril en la ciudad de La Paz.'
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter to someone. Vicente Mayta Rivero does it everyday—on a typewriter. He’s been at it for the past twenty-five years. His job has suffered transformations during this time period, largely due to the democratisation of computers, but Rivero still has enough work to support his family.

One might reasonably ask, how does this occupation continue to exist? ‘It survives because you need it,’ Maya explains. These needs can include typing up credentials, tax forms, and writing plain-old letters. Bolivian people find these tasks are done faster and more efficiently using a typist.

‘I’ve written many letters for people to presidents such as Victor Paz Estenssoro, Hugo Banzer Suarez, and Evo Morales.’ Rivero has also typed out many love letters during his time. ‘Love letters, yes. Just ask for them’, he says with a twinkle in his eye.

I ask him how he began in this line of work. ‘In ‘86 there weren’t many job opportunities. A new tax law came in and it was too messy to fill in the forms by hand, so people got students to help them with typewriters. I just stayed with it.’

Mayta once dreamed of becoming a lawyer but he had to continue the with typewriting to support his three children. In giving up his dream, Mayta came to find joy in his job, and joy in watching his three children succeed in the fields of law, commerce, and mechanics. I asked Rivero if he would ever consider practicing law, but he’s found so much fulfilment in typewriting, with all its ups and downs, that he won’t be leaving his occupation any time soon.

‘Overall it is lovely working on the street. The only thing is that we also have to go through is the harshness of the weather. Sometimes its cold and we have to dress up warmly, and sometimes its hot but, anyhow, we’re happy.’

Bx 29 To Whom It May Concern
Photo: Caterina Stahl


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