There are dozens of shoe shiners in Chichicastenango. Starting as young as five years old, these youngsters prowl the streets looking for leather shoes to turn into shiny proof of their work.
“Shoe shine?” they ask in earnest. “Son muy sucio.” (They are very dirty.)
These poorly dressed youngsters can be seen carrying their little wooden shoe shine boxes in their blackened hands in search of one more customer. For three quetzales (about 40 cents U.S.) they will wax your shoes and buff them to a brilliant sheen. Really. Many of these boys do a fine job. If you don’t let them shine your shoes, they may follow you for a block asking for money for a tamale, some toy in a nearby store, or simply for a quetzal to help increase their take by the end of the day.
In February 2012, a Christian group from Saginaw, Michigan visited Chichicastenango to help with several projects at ASELSI. One of the projects was an outreach for the shoeshine boys.
ASELSI rented out the local municipal theater and the team gave the kids an afternoon of fun and games. This was an opportunity these boys do not often have — a chance to be children. After winning prizes of shoe wax, toys, toothbrushes, and more during games of hot potato. The boys enjoyed coloring, crafts, and dodgeball. After the games, the boys listened to a lively presentation of the Gospel and all 25 of them responded to accept Christ!
This is a great step for these boys to start a relationship with Christ, but now a followup and discipleship program needs to be developed! Please pray for an ongoing opportunity for these young boys to grow in their relationship with Christ.