“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Dr. Seuss
I thought this quote was appropriate because this post will be mostly about shoes (and also the kids love ‘The Cat in the Hat’)!
Neema with the random assortment of shoes the
orphanage has in the background

When I was trying to find quotes about shoes on the internet for this blog, it struck me how many quotes were about shoes as expensive splurges, luxury items which people spoil themselves with.  In some ways, I think this is very appropriate for Nkoaranga Orphanage, because shoes are luxury items in the sense that they are not very easy to come by for the kids (especially one’s in their size!) – they are always very satisfied when you succeed in finding a suitable pair, and generally become quite attached to them! Simoni was delighted with a pair of wellies when he was younger, refusing any other shoes (rain or shine) and insisting on wearing his ‘babooties’!  About 90% of the shoes we receive are used, and it’s quite rare to find a pair without rips, tears or missing pieces – so when the kids find a pair they like, they stick with it!

Two years on, Simoni is still delighted
at wearing wellies!
Simoni in his babooties last year singing the Nakupenda (I love you) song

While we were at the orphanage this winter Mama Pendo asked us to help her sort through the many donations stored in her office.  It was a huge task as many people and companies had been extremely generous and there were lots of beautiful clothes which we were delighted to put out on the shelves to replace one’s which were torn or worn out (and yet somehow we STILL can never find a pair of trousers that fit…). And it was a huge relief to be able to throw out torn and terribly stained clothing that we’d been using simply because we had no other choice.

The whole of the playroom floor filled with piles of old clothes being sorted!
Although we were very excited and grateful to open a box of donated used shoes which allowed us to give one pair to each kid, shoes are always in short supply at the orphanage.  It is quite a challenge each morning to find a pair which fit each child which is not a good thing: correctly fitting shoes are very important for a child’s growing feet and it is necessary for the kids to wear shoes whilst playing outside.  Because of this shortage we are thrilled that Melissa Hale has taken on the challenge of raising enough money to buy each child a pair or two of new shoes!  Thank you Melissa!

You can check out Melissa’s fundraiser at her Crowdrise page – ‘SHOES FOR THE CHILDREN!’ here – thank you so much for reading, sharing or donating to her fundraising page, we really appreciate any support you can give! And just to give an idea of how appreciative we’ll be, here are some pictures of the kids saying thank you and showing off their the used shoes they got in June from our wonderful volunteer Claire.

 Thank you for caring about our kids!