Ingenuity in the face of Scarcity

“Mommy, I need a ruler for my homework,” my younger son told me after school one day.

“Well, where is yours?” I said, already knowing the answer.

“I left it in my desk at school,” he said, his brown eyes widening to garner as much sympathy from me as possible.

I sighed and began digging around in the junk drawer and craft supplies while calling for my older son and asking him for his ruler. Of course, my older son didn’t have his either but instead of helping me search for one, he went wordlessly to the computer.

I heard the sound of the printer and then scissors cutting paper.

“Here you go,” he said, handing his little brother a ruler made of paper.

“That was really smart,” I said.

My older son tapped his head with a finger and replied, “That’s the Latino way.”

His response made me laugh but he’s right – in the face of scarcity, Latinos come up with ingenious solutions and it’s something I truly admire. While Latinos aren’t the only ones with clever ideas, here are a few photos of Salvadorans showing us how it’s done.

Salvadoran Extended Cab
Salvadoran remote control
Salvadoran car jack

Salvadoran car rack & bungee cords

(By the way, Carlos and I have totally done that before. Not recommended for highway driving.)

Salvadoran minuta stand. (Minuta is like "raspado" or shaved ice.)
Salvadoran fruit stand/secret bed

Related Links Featuring Latino Ingenuity:

Washer/dryer turned Pig Roaster – from

Note: Images collected from message boards around the internet with no original source/photographer given. If you are the photographer and would like credit or your photo removed, please contact me.


  1. Hermana, there’s definitely nothing like Latino ingenuity! Normally I would have said Mexican ingenuity but clearly the ability to make do with what little one has is not exclusive to mexicanos only, jajaja! I love all of these and thank you very much for including the little picture I shared on this post :-)

  2. I love it. Of course, my kids are Colombian, Cuban, and Mexican, and their latino ingenuity means that anything can get fixed with Scotch tape. Honestly, some of those photos really scared me! I would not want to be driving behind the “extended cab” or the “Salvadoran car rack and bungee cord!”

  3. OMGoodness! That is hilarious, but so true. So one day on my FB page I get a photo saying: Mexicanos traveling pool. Can you guess where the pool was? On the back of a pickup truck lined with a plastic cover. Three kids happily swimming in it. Ingenuity!

  4. Very funny and very true. My husband can fix, invent, or create anything out of nothing. The one that most scared me was the car jack…scoot back a little too much and that would not be a pretty picture.

  5. Hahaha I almost fell off my chair laughing over the photos and realizing we’ve also made a remote control out of a stick and had to hold on to a piece of wood on top of our car when the rope came loose. This is very funny Tracy. Kudos to your son!

  6. When I was in Mexico when a big truck full of rocks blew a tire in front of Abuelita’s house. This truck had one axle (should have had two for the weight it was carrying). Anyway, the drivers used this little tiny hydraulic car jack and attempted to jack up this big truck full of rocks. It didn’t work. I was scared the truck might tip over into Abuelita’s front yard and crush the two guys.

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