The Central Park in the city of Antigua is a very beautiful spot to come and relax and just watch the world unfold around you. There are people reading books, newspapers, kids hanging out and the odd lover’s smooching on the park benches. When I sat in the park, I found it very peaceful and loved to people watch.
As I sat on the benches I could not help but notice the Shoe Shine Boys. These are young children, some I am guessing to be as young as six years old. These are boys from families, who are too poor to send their children to school, or they are children who come straight from school to work in the park. School is provided for children up to grade six, but all supplies etc must be paid for by the parents. In too many poor families this is unaffordable to the parents and they rely on every quetzal (Guatemalan currency) that is earned by these children.
What struck me the most in watching these young boys is that they spend the whole day walking around the park looking for shoes to shine so they can earn a few quetzales? They spend the day looking at peoples feet. They never look up in to the faces of those that are around the park unless they are asking if they can shine the shoes of the owner. Do they ever look up in to the sky and dream about all that life has to offer? Do they ever climb a tree or run and play with laughter in their hearts that little boys are so famous for. Or, do they spend their lives looking at feet as their fathers and grandfathers did???
Do these children ever look at the sky, the sun, the clouds, the trees or the faces of those in the park enjoying all that life has to offer?