One of the most ubiquitous items in the world are rubber shoes…in Kenya they are essential footwear for everything but school. Most people settle for a rubber thong type shoe; but for those who can pay a little bit more they can purchase the much hardier slip-on sandal. When we arrived at Nyota many of the shoes were broken or too small, so one of my first duties was to enlist Doreen and Fancy to help me trace the kids feet so we could make a shopping excursion in town to buy new sandals. Shoes (especially at good prices) are usually purchased from street vendors and they come in all shapes and sizes – even Italian knock-offs for men. Gideon took me to his favourite sandal vendor and we handed over 28 traced feet on paper for him to select our shoes. Half an hour and $30 dollars later we left with our purchase.
The kids all lined up – small ones first – to get their new sandals. No pushing and shoving, and they gladly helped each other to get the best fit possible. And the more colorful the better they liked them! In fact the older boys were not too happy that theirs were black and brown – they wanted lime green, irridescent blue and orange – and here I had picked sombre colors because I thought they would suit their manly tastes. Anyway it was a happy event and all left with a hardy pair of sandals that should hopefully last a month or two!
Imagine such an event with our kids – rubber sandals would count for nothing. But in Kenya many people live on less than $2 a day and these children are used to living on far less. These sandals would cost half a day’s income. Many poor kids roaming the streets of Nakuru have bare feet. Our children at Nyota are better off than many…and the smiles on their faces were worth every penny.
PS Thanks everyone for your comments on my blog. I read every one of them and they make me feel very connected to all of you!