Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Pair of Shoes

“Is that your daughter?”

“Yes, I sponsor her.”

“You would let your own daughter wear shoes like that?” Purity smiled at me, ever-delightful even in her boldness. She was an 8th grader and the leader of the girls at Milton Jones Eagles Academy. My family’s newly sponsored child, Faith, was standing next to me—and to be honest, I was so excited to see her in school that I hadn’t even noticed her shoes. 

The shoes were worn ragged. It was a miracle they could stay on Faith’s feet when she walked. I had sponsored Faith for two weeks before I went to Kenya and she had not yet gotten a pair of new shoes. 

“You should buy your daughter better shoes to wear,” Purity told me, beaming. She was right. 

“I’ll buy her shoes,” I agreed. 

“You should buy your daughter shoes today.”

“Okay, we’ll go today.”

“You should buy her shoes right now.”

“Right now?” 

And that’s how Faith and I ended up sitting hand-in-hand in the back of a crowded matatu on our way to buy new shoes and a school bag. Since then, this trek has been a regular one for us—and it usually involves ice cream now. 

Purity’s bold questions left me speechless. She saw what my culture-shocked eyes did not and she was determined to take a stand for the children in her community. She made me aware of an issue she knew I could fix. Purity should have been a politician. 

That day Faith got a new pair of shiny, black school shoes. And I gained a new perspective. I will always be thankful for the awareness—and the boldness—Purity showed me in 2013.  

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