Africa Trip - Day #5, Part 2 - Nov 12, 2007

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Blake and I listening on

Putting shoes on the children. For every pair of TOMS you buy, they pledge to give 1 away to kids who do not have any shoes. South Africa is their second shoe drop. 50.000 shoes.

Little girl in pink camo TOMS

A rusty, rose-colored dust fills the air as our white Kombi barrels down the pitted roads. It's the first day bringing shoes to the kids. As we pull up, hundreds of children surround the vehicles shouting, smiling, jumping.

"This is what celebrities must feel like," I hear someone say as dusty faces and shoeless feet run alongside our vehicle. We open our windows and they start shouting to us in Zulu, giving us the thumbs up - a heartfelt greeting.

Aside from the dust - that seems to be everywhere, I can't help but feel that I'm still not in Africa. These kids - these smiles, their claps, their enthusiasm - can be kids anywhere. We pick them up. D.J. gets on the see-saw with them. Jake becomes a human gymnasium. Two girls hover over Blake. I pick up a girl in pink bottoms and a boy in red and spin them around until all three of us are dizzy.

At the final drop of the day, the dust hangs low. About fifty kids stand barefoot in anticipation for their shoes. I go back and forth to the taller girls to fit shoes. I keep coming back with too small of a size and it's painful to see their face because she and I both know it doesn't fit.

I finally find a pair of black TOMS with contrast orange stitching. She and I brush off the orange ashy dust that seems to have settled on her feet like a second skin. They fit perfectly! She gives me a huge smile. We don't speak each other's language, but we don't need to. We both know that she is Cinderella today.

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