I love my feet. They’re not the prettiest feet in the world, and sometimes they hurt for no good reason, but all things considered, they’re pretty good feet. They’ve carried me all over the world, stepped in dirt and on thorns, gotten burned by asphalt in the summertime or frozen by barefoot treks through the snow, gotten cut, scratched, bumped, and tripped, kicked footballs, ridden bicycles, worn every colour of nail polish imaginable, felt the softness of new grass. They’ve been through a lot. And I’m thankful for them.
And while we’re on the subject of feet, tomorrow (April 5th) is One Day Without Shoes. I’m going to go barefoot all day, no matter where I go or what I do, to raise awareness for the people worldwide who don’t even own shoes. The people who suffer from illnesses and disabilities that could easily have been prevented by something as simple as a pair of shoes. The children who aren’t allowed to go to school barefoot, so they can’t go to school at all.
This is something I care about, something that hits close to home for me. And it’s not because I personally have ever been faced with severe poverty, or had to go without shoes because I don’t own a single pair–no, I am fortunate enough not to have to worry about that. But I have close friends in many places in the world who aren’t as fortunate as me. And I’m doing this for them.
“In certain regions of Ethiopia, wearing shoes and practicing good hygiene can prevent podoconiosis, a disease that causes swelling of the feet and legs due to prolonged exposure to irritant soil. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, our partners work with HIV positive and street children, giving shoes to protect them from the dangerous city streets littered with glass, metal, and even sewage.” —onedaywithoutshoes.com
Now you might be thinking, “Why?” Why do I bother going around barefoot if it’s not going to directly fix this problem? I mean, it’s not like by choosing not to wear shoes, I’ll magically save lives or anything. I realise that. I understand that this is not the solution to the problem. But it raises awareness. And awareness leads to action, and action leads to a solution.
Awareness is dead without action. I can say, “Yes I know people are dying every day from easily-preventable causes,” and then get on with my life and not do anything about it. But the key is to say that and then act on it. It’s not enough to know–it’s the doing that makes the difference.