One Day Without Shoes 2011

On April 5, 2011, several of us partnered with TOMS Shoes for their annual “One Day Without Shoes.” We asked people to submit footage of their experience walking without shoes and this is the video we put together.

I’ll be honest. It felt really weird in the beginning.  But we had a lot of fun making this video, even though there were many times during the day in which I myself felt pretty miserable having to walk in the pouring rain with lots of little annoying sticks, rocks and cigarette butts on the ground. Eddie had to walk in the rain as well and both him and Elaine were walking in subway stations, which were filled with all sorts of gooey and sticky substances.

In the end, it was all worth it because we felt like we had raised awareness for an important issue. Throughout the day, many people had come up to us asking why we weren’t wearing shoes. I was at this global health conference that featured prominent leaders such as Paul Farmer, Jeff Sachs, Senator Bill Frist, and Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID, and they were intrigued as a bunch of us were walking around barefoot. We almost got them to take off their shoes as well, but they all were in a rush to leave for different meetings. Nonetheless I was happy being able to walk around barefoot with some of my friends at school (and not feel completely weird) and be in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands around the world who did this as well.

This was my first time participating in One Day Without Shoes and I think it made me more mindful about what it’s like for the millions around the world who don’t have shoes. And I know that my limited experience being barefoot pales in comparison to what they have to go through on a daily basis. In Ethiopia for instance, over a million people don’t have shoes and they walk on volcanic soil, which causes this terrible foot disease called podoconiosis, aka elephantiasis because it makes your legs become abnormally bigger. This disease, however, can be prevented simply by wearing shoes.

Check out TOMS Shoes and consider buying a pair of shoes because for every purchase, TOMS Shoes will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Go here to www.toms.com. Hope to do “One Day Without Shoes” again with all of you guys next year!

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