Shoe-shining at Calle del Arco

Shoe-shining at Calle del Arco

Shoe-shinning is quite inexpensive in La Antigua Guatemala, about Q2/US$0.25 so there is no reason not to have one’s shoes shinning and clean.

Most of the shoe-shiners are boys who carry a black little wooden box around Antigua Guatemala and offer theirs services to locals and foreigners alike; although for sure they charge foreigners a higher fee.

But, how can you say NO to a little kid, about six or seven years of age holding his entire business enterprise on his right hand while being drenched by the rain? That’s why you often find tourists having their shoe-shine, for better or worse by kids who are not in school, but making a living on the streets of La Antigua Guatemala.

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Erick

    It’s impressive and honorable to see these (very) poor kids, at such a young age, try to make an honest living by shoe-shinning. They could very easily turn to stealing, gangs, etc, but they take the higher road, which for the most part tendsto be extremely difficult and arduous.

  • Claudia

    that always breaks my heart . . . but it makes me so angry at the parents too .. (I don’t mean to get controversial).

  • @Erick, everything in life is relative; for instance it’s better to see the kid working to bring food to his plate, than in gangs as you mention. It would be better that niños lustradores had enough in their homes so they can go to school. And so on and so on.

    @Claudia, by all means get controversial. This is your place as much as it is mine and you know I have never censor anybody. So, please, do get controversial as often as you like.

  • Eric

    This is one of my favorite entries, Rudy ! I understand both Erick and Claudia. When I first visited Guatemala, I felt angry when I saw so many ninos working, instead of going to school. Thankfully, I asked alot of questions, and the always gracious guatemaltecos took the time to explain how things are … not exactly the same as they are en los EEUU. Who should I be angry with ? Los padres ? El gobierno ? La econnomia ?
    Since that first visit, I have learned so much. It is always a pleasure to see los lustradores, not just for a shoe shine (yes, I will get the shoes polished in the rain!), but for directions, advice, and most importantly, lugares que vende las mejores camisetas. To my fellow travelers, or to those whose heart lives in Guatemala (like mine), I would say to save a few quetzales for los lustradores – you will not be sorry.