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El Organillo (the Organ Grinder), Lima, Lima, Peru
Provided by the artist - Jeffrey Becom
© Jeffrey Becom
"Eighty-seven-year-old Victor Rosetti Huamani claims he is Peru's last working "suerte" or "vendor of luck" - so called because throughout South America, organ grinders are also fortunetellers. In decades past, Victor's monkey pranced while the heavy, century-old, German-made barrel organ cranked out Victorian tunes from an assortment of revolving brass disks. But eventually its antique springs and gears gave up, rendering his organ nothing more than a red-and-white-striped dead weight. Now, whenever a hopeful client hands Victor's current companion Rosita a one sol coin, the monkey jumps and dances, unaccompanied by waltz or polka.
Relinquishing the money to her master, Rosita pulls a small paper slip out of a wooden drawer beneath her red painted sleeping quarters. These fortunes all contain a series of "winning" lottery numbers, plus a bit of prescient advice about love, work, or future travels."
[Courtesy of the artist - used with permission]