There is a man who lives near me in Leogane.
I see him almost every morning, pulling his hand cart.
Most of the time it is empty. He once told me with a grin that he can make as much as $20 a day carrying things for people, if enough people need things carried. Every morning Pierre pulls his empty cart down the dirt path outside of my gate and every afternoon he returns, barefoot. Not many people needed my help today, he tells me, while he smiles and shakes his head.
There is this ache that pierces my soul every time I see his flat, calloused feet hobbling down the road.
It really sucks when kids are barefoot and hungry. It sucks different when an adult is. Not worse, just different. To know that he’s been hungry for more than 40 years, it’s really almost incomprehensible. Like I said, different. The way my heart jumps when I see a barefoot little boy is different that the pang that comes when I see Pierre. Neither one is easy, or right or fair.
Tomorrow is Toms One Day Without Shoes. “One Day Without Shoes is the day we take off our shoes to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's life.”
I love that tomorrow a whole lot of people will be barefoot and a whole lot of people will be made aware of how different another’s life can be. Raising awareness for children who don’t have shoes is amazing. Tomorrow we will be reminded of the children in Central America, Africa and the Caribbean who live ever day with the discomfort and danger of not having a pair of shoes for their feet.
We will think about them and I hope that maybe you will think about and pray for Pierre too. The man who smiles every day, while he works to make a living, walking hot dusty roads, barefoot.