Jan.16, 2013 I turned 50 and decided to fulfill a dream and check 1 thing off my bucket list! When I worked at New Balance I became familiar with a non-profit organization, Soles4Souls and I really loved the simplicity of it. Take shoes you do not wear and give them to someone who has no shoes, seemed simple to me. I looked into the Soles4Souls website and realized you could travel with them, I thought hmmm, this is something I could do! I checked back several times until I made my final decision, which was easy when I saw a trip that went to Tanzania on the day I turned 50! I thought, that’s it! And my mind was made up and I never doubted my decision.
I liked the simplicity of the idea of helping others by giving them shoes. I looked in my closet and saw all the shoes I had and thought, I can’t imagine not having 1 pair of shoes. Such a basic necessity.
Tanzania was more than I could of asked for. Before leaving I focused on giving shoes to the children, what I would bring to them and basically what I would do, not what I would receive. I only had half of the whole idea behind Soles4Souls. I can remember driving in a hot bus as the dirt from the roads flew in the windows and thought to myself “what did I get myself into”, then as we approached the 1st orphanage and I saw all the children excited and running towards our bus, I thought “WOW”! Smiles and eyes wide and full of hope! I can’t imagine what was going on in their minds! What have we got in our van? What have we brought for them? As we all stepped out of the van the boys came over and gave us all hugs, the girls hung back and were shy. As the day went on and we washed, measured and handed out shoes the girls warmed up. They would touch my skin with wonderment, look with fascination at my French manicure and touch and caress my hair. They played soccer just as hard and with such talent, some running around with no shoes and dresses on. They take off their shoes, as they do not want to get them dirty! As we finished up the day and said our good byes it was with mixed emotions. Sad to leave such caring children yet felt happy to have been able to touch a few childrens’ lives in a positive way. We jumped in the bus and headed to the next shoe distribution, all the way there I thought, I gave so little and received so much in each and every child today!
Thank you Soles4 souls for opening my eyes to needs far away from my home and how I can help in the smallest way and get back so much!