Written By: Christine Pigott, US Volunteer/Intern
Question: When are there more than three feet in a yard?
Answer: When you are at the Baphumelele Children’s Home.
It was three in the afternoon and Baphumelele’s yard was full of little feet scurrying about trying to find their place in line to await the distribution of a box full of sneakers. On Monday, my colleague Leah and I went to Baphumelele Children’s Home, along with several UCT student volunteers, to donate and distribute a box full of sneakers, shoes, soccer balls, and ropes to some children in need.
The kids anxiously gathered into a straight line as the volunteers sorted through two boxes full of sneakers. H4H and UCT volunteers found matching shoes and paired them together. The kids grew with excitement each time a pair was made. By time all the sorting was done each child had already made eye contact with his or her dream sneaker. One by one the kids were called forward to choose their shoe of choice. Each volunteer worked with a child one on one to pick out a shoe. At that moment in time it was as if the children had their own personal shopper.
One by the one the kids stepped forward with a volunteer to pick out a new pair of shoes. They discarded their old pair for a new one. As their feet slipped into a new pair of shoes, ranging from black Converses to pink Nikes, their faces lit up with joy and excitement. Immediately after having their new shoes fastened the kids would run off in a heightened degree of delight, as if recharged by their new footwear.
For a majority of the kids, these new shoes served as a much-needed replacement for their old shoes, which were worn out and contained holes. They represented a new beginning and hope for these kids who have had very rough and challenging lives. These shoes will be with these kids long after we are gone. Due to those locally and overseas who have donated these shoes to H4H, these shoes represent kindness and warmth, which these children will carry with them every step of the way.