The Shoe-Shiner (Lisbon)

I'm Paolo Oliveira, I'm 50 years old. I've worked in this job as a shoe-shiner for 30 years. We're here in Lisbon, in St Domingo's Square in Rossio. 

Yes, I like this job. This was my first job because there were many of us children - we were eleven children - and the older ones had to work. We had to work to support the younger ones.

People come from England or France and from other parts of the world and they don't know what I do. They come, they look and I carry on working and then they realise that I'm a shoe-shiner. This is the job. The job is to clean shoes, to polish them. 

I always try to do my best. I like to see a shiny shoe. So, I spread the polish on the shoe. Polish all around the shoe to soften it, to make it smoother. Then I leave it to dry for a bit, then I polish a bit all around the shoe and finish it off nicely. The shoe shines...the customers like it and thank me. 

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