As most of you know, we have been trying to raise money to put 100 shoes on the feet of 100 children. Thanks to many of you, we have reached that goal! However, after a recent visit with another 100 children in the school, it has become very apparent that 100 shoes is just not enough. I sat down with each one of the additional 100 children during my time in Makutano and heard so many of them say that their only need is a pair of shoes. So many stories really touched me, but I wanted to share the story of one little girl in particular who illustrates so well why your $25 dollar donation can make all the difference in the world to
I met Robai on the first day I was in the village at the school. She had a haunted look and a quiet way about her. While I spoke with her, I discovered why she was so stoic. Robai lives with her father and step-mother in an environment that is in no way loving. Robai’s father cares for her, but he cares more for alcohol than ensuring his daughter is safe. Robai’s step-mother sees her as nothing more than a nuisance and does nothing to provide for her well-being. As she gave quiet answers to the questions I asked, I could see that her hands and bare feet were infested with jiggers. The administrator of the school informed me that they had contacted Robai’s father about the problem and had also attempted to treat her to rid her of the painful infestation. However, she said that Robai was in such intense pain when they went to remove the jiggers (with a push pin, I might add), that her screaming greatly disturbed the other children on the school grounds and they had to stop. They did the best they could, but it became clear that more would have to be done. Considering all this, it is no surprise that when I took pictures of her, my usual call for the children to “cheka” (laugh) was not met with just that.
The fact that part of Robai’s physical pain could have been prevented so easily broke my heart. A pair of shoes could have lightened a burden already so heavy for a small girl. Had Robai had a good pair of shoes to wear, there would have been no way the jiggers could have worked their way into her skin. Just through one child, I was able to see just how important shoes really are. As I heard child after child say all they needed was a pair of shoes, I understood even more what that pair of shoes could mean for each one of them. $25 could mean one less burden and one less worry for children who already have so much to carry on their shoulders.
Robai, through the kindness of two little girls in Indiana, was given a pair of socks and shoes the very next day. For the first time in a while, we saw a smile on her beautiful face. It will still be a long road for Robai as those working with her through Village Project Africa seek to help her heal physically and emotionally, but we pray that the shoes are just the start of some happiness in her life.
I hope you will join me in the effort to put more smiles on more faces and prevent unnecessary suffering. Where else can you spend $25 that will make such a difference? Contributions may be made through our website or by mailing a check made out to “Village Project Africa” to PO Box 382, Noblesville, IN 46061. Please be sure to mark your donation “Shoes.”