I came across the Barefoot Against Poverty page last night and I am super excited about this project! You can read more about it here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/EveryHumanHasRights
It works like this:
On Friday 10 December at noon local time take off your shoes and step onto the streets barefoot to show your support for the fight against poverty. The other alternative is to pledge to wear the same pair of shoes for 30 days and yet another alternative is to pledge to go barefoot for 30 days. If Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel signed up, who are we to decide that it won’t fit into our schedule?
It was about 10pm as I was reading this, snugly in bed, contemplating whether I could wear the same pair of shoes for 30 days. So many outfits to plan! Which shoes to pick as we have Christmas functions and New Years coming soon. This was a very difficult choice to make. As I was contemplating this, someone rang my doorbell. I went outside, slightly annoyed as it was rather chilly and on opening the door I noticed the fog creeping in and covering the sky. When I got to the gate I saw before me an old man of about 70 with crutches. He was skin and bone and shivering in the cold. It turns out he and his wife are homeless and have just been robbed of their one bag of belongings, so they had to spend the night out in the cold with only the clothes on their back. He apologised profusely for disturbing me and asked whether I could borrow him a blanket.
I looked at this old man and felt so guilty. So ashamed.
As I was picking out things to give them, I came across a lovely coat, which during two past winters I have never worn. One of those “I’ll keep it in case…” items. Needless to say it is no longer in my cupboard, I have finally found use for it! The appreciation on his face and his kind words of thanks, which was meant to make me feel good, only made me sink deeper into a sense of guilt. How dare we complain about our house being too small, or car being too old, not having enough clothes for the new season when we have not even worn everything from the previous season yet! I’ve invited them back for supper every Sunday.
It is time that we as a society wake up and open our eyes to the pain and suffering around us. Stop being annoyed at beggars knocking on your door, stopping you in the parking lot when you walk out of Pick ‘n Pay with a trolley filled with goods. I am pretty certain that none of these people are there by choice. Sure they might have made some mistakes in the past, sure they might have made a wrong decision along the way, but who are we to condemn them for what they are today. Would it really kill you to buy a meal for someone? Would it really kill you to spend some time with someone and find the person behind the smelly clothes and dirty face?
It was at this stage that I decided that wearing the same pair of shoes for 30 days won’t do. I took the pledge to go barefoot for 30 days. I put the challenge on my Facebook page this morning and was very happy and surprised to see how many of my friends have joined the cause! Thank you for stepping up and doing your bit in the fight against poverty.
I’ve gone one step further and decided to put together a Christmas lunch for those who cannot afford one. I know that I will definitely not be able to sit down for a family Christmas lunch knowing that I have done nothing to help those less fortunate. Even if, by the project, I can get round to feeding 10 families, I will be happy. The logistics is a nightmare as we only have 16 days ‘till Christmas, but I am confident that I will be able to come up with something. Any ideas?
I would like for you, the readers of this page, to please forward this by e-mail to as many people as possible. Spam, maybe, but spam for a good cause. If we can create awareness of this problem and make one family’s Christmas better, how awesome will that be?