In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Shine Boys of Antigua,
Shoe shine boys are all
over Latin America,
from Mexico, and
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
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).
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
around $10USD a day.
Billy getting his shoes
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
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
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
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,
For more stories
and photos of Guatemala, click
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About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.