Imagine that your feet are twice their size. Your skin is rough, rubbery, and there is no definition between your foot and and leg. Fungus covers your foot leaving a mossy look. The lymph nodes in your foot ooze bacteria.
This disease is called podoconiosis and many third world countries see a lot of it. Sometimes it’s referred to as elephantiasis and it literally means ‘dust in the feet.’ Many people fail to realize what one pair of shoes can do for a poor farmer.
One man named Black Mycoskie became aware of the problem of children without shoes in third world countries. He created a company called TOMS that gave a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that was bought.
But the awareness for children without shoes went even further than his company and soon became a holiday. Mothers, fathers, students, and even children went a day without shoes in countries were shoes were taken advantage of.
The awareness for this problem in third world countries made its way to Corban. Heather Martin, the bookstore manager, wanted to create awareness and an April sale.
“I really just wanted to raise awareness and start conversations,” Martin said. Although Martin thinks TOMS are “hideous”, she loves the idea of what they do for people in need.
“I wish someone would have told me about this problem before I was 30,” Martin said. “It’s a waste of youth.” Martin sent out an email to all students about a sale going on and an opportunity to win a gift card for people who participated in the One Day Without Shoes.
Another email was sent out by freshman Hannah Yocum who also was on a mission to raise awareness. She’s participated in the holiday last year and told her friends about it this year.
“I wanted to show people what it was like going without shoes,” Yocum said, “It ended up being a big deal.”
But not only did her friends and other students participate in it, staff did too.
“It was cool to see teachers and Pastor Dan Huber without shoes,” Yocum said.
Not only did Pastor Dan Huber wear no shoes to school, he biked to school with no shoes on.
“It was so cold, my feet were numb, and I definitely thought of things differently,” Huber said. Yet, Huber felt that throughout the day his pride started to rule over the initial goal of the holiday.
“At one point I tried to keep updates through Twitter,” Huber said, “And I tweeted ‘Am I doing this for myself or awareness?’”
Going without shoes was a constant reminder of the problems many people face in third world country such as numbness, podoconiosis and many other complications.
“It’s something that’s bigger than just our campus,” Huber said.