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.

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Home Sweet Home

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What you pay for housing is the largest category of expense in any household. The amount you shell out for rent and utilities or for your mortgage, maintenance, insurance, utilities and repairs makes a sizable dent in your monthly paycheck.

Do you know what your yearly housing costs are? Have you ever thought of it before?

Whether you are saving for a financial goal, putting away money for retirement or are already retired, changing this one monthly expense can significantly increase your quality of life in other areas.

Home sweet home

Home Sweet Home

If you have a monthly commitment of $700, $1,500, $3,000 or more to pay for where you live, what would cutting that amount by 30% or 50% do to help you pay down credit card debt? Put towards your retirement savings plan? Pay off your school loans or your car loan?

Take a look at some of the financial calculators listed here and see what happens when you shift some expenses around Financial Calculators

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Laundry Day at Lago Atitlan, Guatemala

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Traveling to other countries offers us the opportunity to appreciate how much we have been given.

Here, Maya women do their laundry in the center of town. Children are strapped on their backs or running around the “Laundromat” while mama does the wash.

Laundry Day

Men and Women’s roles are clearly defined in indigenous cultures

You will notice that there are several tubs (upper left in the photo and at the bottom) available for others as they arrive. Dirty clothing, bedding  and other items are carried on their heads wrapped in another piece of woven cloth.

Fresh, running water is a new convenience to these Maya women living around Lago Atitlan. For them, this is modern living.

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About

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are 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 show host Clark Howard, Bankrate.com, SmartMoney, Minyanville, FOXBusiness and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide.

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 have authored six books about retirement and travel.

Continuing to journal and photograph their world travels, Billy and Akaisha have home bases in Thailand, Mexico and the U.S.

They have been married over three decades, and enjoy the world of finance, fine cuisine, photography, and publishing, playing tennis, volunteering, traveling and learning about native peoples.

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