The Neighborhood Shoe Repairman

Also known as a cobbler, this profession has been in a long, slow decline.

Originally published May 29, 2016.

Ary Albán is a cobbler, a shoe-repairman, a “zapatero” in Spanish.  After 30 years working in in factories and workshops making shoes, he was eventually replaced by machines that did his job faster and cheaper. For the last two years, he’s been dedicated to shoe-repair and fabrication in a small shop in the San Cayetano neighborhood of Cali, Colombia. He says that making shoes or repairing them leaves him with a small income that keeps him with a roof over his head and food on his plate, but that he prefers his trade overwhelmingly to construction or any of the other jobs his ex-cobbler friends currently find themselves doing. Listen to his Cotton Gin Story.

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