Shoe repairer

Making a living

“It’s a slow dollar but it’s better than working with people and it keeps me out of trouble,” says Keith Stanley, a 45-year-old man who repairs shoes and umbrellas.

Stanley has been plying his trade on a plot of land opposite the Central High School at the corner of Leopold and Smyth Streets for 10 years.

Enlarging on how he became involved in the trade, Stanley described how he used to watch his friend who operated in the ‘Big Market’ make his living that way. After getting into trouble with the law and ending up in jail, he learnt the trade of repairing shoes while incarcerated.

Keith Stanley

“I use to do stupidness on the road following friends, and end up going to jail,” Stanley said. He was about 25 years old when he was sent to jail: “Prison is a hard experience to explain; being in there is a different thing… when I come out I decided to hold ma corner and do ma thing.” However, he had stayed out of trouble since he began to earn his living by repairing shoes.

He stitches, resoles and recaps shoes. Later on, he related, he picked up the trade of repairing umbrellas from “an Indian boy who use to operate at Water Street. He teach me how fuh fix up umbrellas, and I pick up the trade from he and say this could come in handy.”

Now every morning from 6am to 5pm, Stanley is outside under a makeshift tent surrounded by shoes and umbrellas. It’s a job he said he enjoyed doing. “I love this job; the reason why – because you don’t have a boss.”

Stanley told SN that he was committed to what he did, so he was always out Mondays to Saturdays come rain or shine: “Only way I don’t come out is when I sick.”

He noted that the business he was doing was, “to help in the completion of ma own house over the river. Is nah a big wuk, but at the same time I thankful for small mercies, and like old people say one, one dutty build dam.”

During his 10 years at the Smyth Street location, Stanley said he had witnessed many accidents and attempted robberies, and had even thwarted a few robberies: “I don’t mind ya doing ya thing, but I don’t want ya doing it in front of me.”

“Business is good [but] every day is nah catching day,” Stanley went on, but nevertheless considered his location ideal. A lot of his customers were teachers, students and police officers.

As Stanley stitches a boot, next to him sits his wife with a small confectionery stall catering to the schoolchildren. Several Central High School students visit her to buy pickled fruit.
Stanley said that when he spoke to the youngsters he told them that crime did not pay and encouraged them to find a legal way of earning a living: “I tell them crime out hey don’t pay; it aint mek sense. Ya gah hold a corner, learn a trade and earn a honest living. When you do this you get more respect and it’s better for you.”

Comments  

From Mary and Jesus to Herod

Since the festival of Christmas commands a pre-eminent position – of observance and celebration – on Guyana’s Annual Calendar of National Events, I thought I’d pen a few lines to provoke thought and meditation relevant to the “Real Reason for the Season”.

By ,

Poems of Succession and ‘The When Time’

To mark the anniversary of Martin Carter’s passing on December 13, 1997, Gemma Robinson looks at Carter’s Poems of Succession, published 40 years ago this year.

Abuse and broken leadership

By Naicelis Rozema-Elkins   It is about time, past due in fact, that the problem of sexual assault by teachers in our school system is addressed.

Focus on Guyana’s National Budget 2018

Focus on Guyana’s National Budget 2018 represents the twenty-eighth edition of this Ram & McRae annual publication which highlights, reviews and comments on the major issues surrounding and raised in the National Budget.

By ,

The illusion of freedom in the digital age

By Mark Leonard LONDON – Over the last few weeks, media around the world have been saturated with stories about how technology is destroying politics.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×