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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

The Shoe Shine Boys of Antigua,

Guatemala

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Shoe shine boys are all over Latin America, from Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, to Central and South America. You don't need to be a young boy to shine shoes, some men have chosen this work as their career.

Prices vary depending on whether you are in a small town or a larger city. In Panajachel, a shoe shine costs 3 Quetzales (about $0.40US cents). In Antigua, a shine is 5 Quetzales (about $0.66 US cents).

Antigua's beautiful fountain and plaza

The clientele in Antigua have a bit more money than in Panajachel and the city itself is a must-see destination in Guatemala, so there are lots of tourists. If one does not speak Spanish, or if one is unaware of the local pricing, shine boys could ask for double the price, 10Quetzales, or even ask for a USDollar or two.

Minimum wage in Guatemala is around $10USD a day.

Billy getting his shoes shined

 

Billy had the idea that he would have some RetireEarlyLifestyle tee shirts made up and give them away to the shoe shine boys in Antigua. He has already given dozens and dozens away to the boys in Panajachel.

Here Billy is wearing a traffic-stopping orange color shirt himself.

Latins love bright colors.

Alex, the shoe shine boy

A lot of these shine boys come from the villages in the mountains down to the "big city" to make some money. The tourism landscape changes every day, so it's like the lottery.

You just might win!

Giving the shoe a "snap!"

There is a whole process to shining a shoe. The shoe needs to be cleaned first, of all the dust and debris that shoes tend to collect. Then polish needs to be put on "just so" and one shoe at a time so that the first shoe dries as the second shoe gets a coat.

Then the shoe gets rubbed with the cloth until you can practically see your face in the shine.

Some shiners do a bit of a dance with their cloths, giving a *snap!* to it creating a loud pop and making more of a show out of their work.

In between cleaning, polishing and shining, the boy will tap your foot to let you know you need to move it and produce your other foot.

Alex proudly wears his new shirt

We have been getting our shoes shined all over Latin America for years. Some kids make good money, beyond the minimum daily wage, and others are happy to make their bus fare and enough money for their food for the day. Some kids pay for their school supplies in this fashion.

 

After his shine, Billy gave Alex a shirt, and Alex promptly put it on and proudly wore it. Then with his hands blackened by shoe polish, he carefully tucked away this bright and new shirt so he could take it home and not get it smudged by a day at work.

Now it's Akaisha's turn to get a shine

So now it was my turn to get my shoes shined. Each shiner has a little stool he sits on and his shine box. In the Dominican Republic, these boxes and stools are painted works of art.

REL tee-shirts: A family affair

Word got around that shirts were being given away for free, and all of a sudden Billy was mobbed. He was handing them out right and left, and in this case, a Father and his two sons all got a new shirt! As you can see, they are most pleased at receiving this gift.

Sometimes, life can be as simple as a shoe shine and a shirt.

For more stories, photos and information about Antigua, click here

For more stories and photos of Guatemala, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store

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