A Day Without Shoes - written by PPT's photographer: Allison Zaucha
The excitement had been rising among my fellow TOMS lovers around the nation for this eventful day. The 4th was a beautiful day with lots of anticipation for the celebration of TOMS and the movement that helps put shoes on people across the world. Then thunder struck, literally, with a torrential down pour the morning of Day Without Shoes. Somehow nature's attempts to suppress this day of awareness didn't find success. On this one day, my feet felt as if they were going to bleed and crack. The next day, April 5th 2011, I had the utter luxury of walking on paved streets and sidewalks…barefoot. Many people don't have just that luxury alone. Students and faculty looked at my friends and I like we had five heads for doing something that wasn't socially acceptable. It was if the mere thought of walking outside or in classrooms would instantly attract fungi onto my feet. Now it is true that in these under-developed countries, without sanitation and high quality of living, the people are accustomed to the risk of diseases. However, I do not believe that walking barefoot around a clean college campus will be the cause of a horrific disease. This society has placed itself in a germ phobic bubble where nothing bad should ever come into its space.
I was doing something different and it felt great. I was doing something to experience what my brothers and sisters in different lands have to deal with every day. Why shouldn't each of us experience this? Putting yourself in someone else's shoes (or lack there of) allows you to see a glimpse into their window of life. My feet were dirty and callused and bruised; however, I kept walking with a smile on my face. This small experience just gave me the opportunity to truly appreciate the gifts that I have, which are often taken for granted. Once this appreciation is achieved, maybe then, just maybe I will be able to selflessly help other people. I'm not talking about helping these people without shoes so that I may feel my heart warm, that would be too selfish. This day was meant to give us an appreciation so that we can do what is right, just because it is the morally right thing to do. It was for the sole reason that I would be able to understand what the woman who has to walk five miles each day for water barefoot experiences, for the children who walk miles to school each day so that they may become smarter just for the sake of knowledge. I believe in the movement of TOMS shoes, not because they design fashionable and comfortable shoes, but because they believer in generosity for less fortunate people. It is for the dignity of the human race that I took this small gesture of one day without shoes to experience a fraction of what those so much stronger than me deal with. Maybe if we all could do this, feel what others feel, physically if not emotionally…we can all become more humble, more sympathetic people.
To say the least, this experience moved not only myself, but many people on campus. Whether you are in need of a new pair of shoes to get from West End to the Hill, or because you want to buy a pair of shoes for someone who can't, please check out www.toms.com. I promise you will be maintaining the trend around campus and helping a worthy cause.
Here are some pictures of students from ECU's campus experiencing this amazing movement...
First I want to say thank you to Allison for sharing her point of view about this influential day on ECU's campus! I hope that this leaves each and every student with the inspiration to journey on this life changing adventure with TOMS shoes! Just remember, you don't need to be wearing shoes to make a statement! Keep an eye out for more posts to come this week!
keep on keepin' on fashionistas,