Working 3rd World Children

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One of the things Billy and I notice in our travels is how involved children are in providing for themselves or in bringing income to the home.

Family businesses, no matter what they are, will find children right on the scene, contributing or growing up along side.

Working 3rd World Children

Cabbage Patch Baby?

There’s no need for a baby sitter and family life goes on all around us and at every turn.

As a child gets older, more can be expected of him. Maya culture has children selling wares when they are about 7 or 8 years of age, often with the mother watching close by.

Working 3rd World Children

Young Maya girl sells hand made animals in San Cristobal, Mexico

This young Maya girl sells stuffed animals in the plaza in the mountain city of San Cristobal in Mexico. Sometimes children will band together building friendships and keeping each other company while they walk the streets selling their items to tourists.

Working 3rd World Children

The gift of survival

Although we might not recognize it, this child is attending a Mayan school. Carrying her sibling on her back, she brings a lone cabbage to sell at the market. What she receives from the sale of that cabbage will feed both her brother and herself for the day. If you want only half or a quarter of a cabbage, she will scramble to find someone to cut it for you. If you do not have the correct change, she will find it.

What may appear as harsh poverty to our eyes, this young girl, maybe 8 years old, is learning Mayan values: loyalty to family, determination, perseverance, ingenuity, the ability to sell product, physical strength – all necessities for survival in her world. Ten years from now she will bring value to her marriage from training such as this.

Working 3rd World Children

Selling plastic bags for lunch money

Seeing young children such as the one in the above photo always has me asking: “What is this child’s story here?” This young man sits on the steps in the market place – maybe for a rest, maybe because he hasn’t had any luck selling his plastic bags that morning, maybe because he is hungry and is discouraged.

Regardless of the fantasy I might build around him, there is no disputing that he reflects unhappiness. His canvas tote bag is filled with plastic bags that he must sell, and if his tale is like other native children’s, what he sells pays for his meals of the day.

To those of us who have had more comfort-filled lives and who have not had to worry about putting food on the table every day, seeing children in third world countries working like this might bring up uncomfortable thoughts. On the other hand, the skills they learn of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, perseverance and even connectedness to the community serve them throughout their lives.

And those skills cannot be purchased, they must be earned.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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