10,000 pairs of TOMS shoes

 

reason to help

04/13/2016 The TOMS shoes arrived and the shoe drive began. We started at the east end of the island. The first week we had volunteers here on a medical mission at Clinic Esperanza and the people from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in SPS.  I also rallied some ladies from the east end to help out.

We all met at Barrio Lempira in Oak Ridge and split up into groups. My group (Marilyn, Gail, Cathey, Kathy and Marcia) went to Pandy Town. Pandy Town is one of my favorite schools, I like the teachers and the kids there. It’s the school I went to the very first time I helped with TOMS shoes.

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A truck load of shoes, truck courtesy of the Municipal of Santos Guardiola. Thank you Carson and Clifford!

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He needed new shoes

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Kathy and Gail

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Sorted and sized

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Kids waiting in line

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Old TOMs for new ones

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Me fitting a little boy with new TOMS. Photo by Marilyn

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Pam and Cathey Photo by Marilyn

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Cathey, me, Kathy and Gail all fitting. Photo by Marilyn

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He thought he was getting a shot. Photo by Marilyn

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Nurse volunteers and also volunteers from the orphanage in SPS that is instrumental in us getting shows for the island kids. Photo by Marilyn

My helpers left after Pandy Town and the rest of us finished up at the other school in Barrio Lempira.

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These are students at the kinder in Barrio Lempira

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waiting to get new shoes

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Anxious faces

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such cute boys

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These are the students from the orphanage fitting shoes at the high school.

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The High School

After that we went to Punta Gorda to fit the kids there. Since the schools have 2 shifts we missed the younger students the first day at Punta Gorda.

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Students helping us unload box after box

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Soon to be replaced

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This is the school “cafeteria”

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One of the Garifuna drums

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These drums sounded really cool

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Punta Gorda school and a boy in the traditional Garifuna clothes.

The next morning I met my friend Llyn and her 2 friends and we went to Punta Gorda. From there we loaded shoes into my car and went to a small kinder that I never even knew was there in Lucy Point and fit some kids with shoes. I think that was the most hugs I’ve ever gotten at a school.

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These kids were too cute

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They all love cameras.

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Adorable

It didn’t take long to fit those kids so Llyn and her friends headed home and I went back to Punta Gorda. The power was out so they moved the shoe fitting outside. It was stifling hot in the rooms. Two people stayed inside and handed the needed sizes out the windows to the fitters.

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The swings and seesaw need fixed here too.

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There were a lot of students.

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She was a volunteer at Clinic Esperanza.

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Really? This is in the garden walkway that the kids use??

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These volunteers deserve a huge thank you. It was super hot with no breeze at all.

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Garifuna kids

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The girls look so pretty in their dresses.

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This little boy was putting this toy together, except he didn’t have enough pieces to finish it.

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He was still pretty proud of his accomplishment. What a handsome young man!

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Dusty TOMS shoes on the playset

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His eyes

After they were done there they went to Barrio Los Fuertes. That’s where I rescued Frito. Nidia said not to go because 1) Frito and 2) driving west to the school, then driving all the way back east to home. I came home.

My friend Marcia volunteered to do another day with me on Wednesday, along with Bob and Rosalie who wanted to help. We met them at the 1500+ student Modelo school in Sandy Bay. Wowsa, what a huge school bustling with activity. There is a sports court on the roof, nice and hot up there in the blazing sun, but at least there is somewhere to run and play ball. We had a lot of volunteers this day. We even had a family who helped us last year.

Once we got all the shoes in the room we had at least 15 fitters and the rest of us were runners and fitters too when needed. I know I fit a LOT of shoes that day. Christa (AKA Cookie, who is Nidia’s daughter) did the kinder class at that school, about 100 students. We had around 1500 that we did in 3 hours. We rocked it!

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The Modelo school in Sandy Bay, right where the tumulos (speed bumps) are

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Not camera shy

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Bob and Rosalie walking up to the school

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Little beauties, waiting for shoes

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Take my picture!

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So pretty

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Fitters. The girl in the red hat got dizzy from leaning over and then sitting up so many times. I took her place when she left to get some fresh air. People think it’s a simple process, hand them the shoes and go. Nope, doesn’t work that way at all.

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They are all wearing their new TOMS except for one little boy who is holding his new prized possession.

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Loved his hair

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Old TOMS for brand new ones

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The mayhem in the room. The runners were tossing the shoes to the fitters. It was kind of chaotic, but fun.

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Another old pair of TOMS being replaced with new TOMS

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What a great smile..

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The two young boys were brothers and they were super nice boys.

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Rosalie running with shoes for the fitters. The fitters use the size chart to get an idea what size, then they yell out the size. The runner grabs the size shoe they need and gives them to the fitter. If the shoes don’t fit the runners put that pair back in the right box and grabs another size to try. It’s a process..

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Marcia helping out. I’ve discovered that I need to check my camera settings while I’m doing this. I keep my camera in my pocket and in the process of pulling it in and out, the setting gets changed, therefore my pics are blurry.

After we finished that school we were taking a lunch break. Marcia, Bob, Rosalie and a lady we met who was helping named Jan all went to The Salty Mango restaurant in Sandy Bay for lunch. It was excellent.

After that Marcia and I went to a school in Flowers Bay. That wasn’t a very large school. The rooms had no lights or ventilation/fans at all so we fit the kids outside.

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The school

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I just love these kids..

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The smiles they get when you show them their photo makes me wish I had an instamatic camera so I could give them all pics of themselves.

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It was just the girls at first but the little boy photo bombed them.

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Nidia giving her speech about getting new shoes. The girl on the right in the gray t-shirt is from Maryland, she volunteers at the Orphanage in San Pedro Sula.

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Marcia being a runner for the fitters.

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Nidia’s daughter Christa aka Cookie (in the blue shirt) fitting.

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The fitters, hard at work.

After that school was finished we called it a day. We planned to meet at another large school in the same area the next morning.

I arrived just as Faber and a few other people did and we waited for the shoe truck to come. Once they came we had the students carry the shoes into the school yard.

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They actually had a fruit cart but the girls were all adding sugar syrup to the sliced mangos. There were 2 other food stands within the school grounds.

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Loved this bike

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not a clue what this is.

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Students carrying in shoe boxes

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Inside of the school yard.

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Cynthia, me and Nidia.

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Girls waiting for new shoes

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The fitters

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Old TOMS

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New TOMS

We took a lunch break and then had to wait for the next shift of students to arrive. Instead of waiting, Cookie and I took several pairs of shoes and went to Miss Valeries Charmont Academy and dropped off shoes there and then we went to Las Brisas kinder. It is out a road called Steel Pan Alley.

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This is the kinder

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Cookie with the students..

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The inside of the school. There are no windows and there are cinder blocks and bags of cement in the class room.

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Sweet young girl

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Cookie fitting

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The kinder teacher. She is expecting another baby.

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Last year we were able to drive up alongside of the building in the background. This year there is a large drainage pipe and they built a concrete bridge over it. Seems odd, only a few homes back there.

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This is an old boat but it looks like there is someone living in it to me.

After the other school was finished we called it a day. I didn’t help out on Friday because I had to volunteer at the airport for the United Flight.

Friday before the airport I stopped to get meds for a dog at a little store that we stop at. Bill sent me the photo asking if I could help the dog.

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Covered in mange.

I got some Ivermectin and also took some flea and tick drops for the dog. On my way home from the airport I stopped by Cattleya School. Cattleya is the school for mentally and physically disabled children. There are Autistic children, Down’s kids and some who can’t walk very well. They have 2 teachers and are in dire need of another Special Ed teacher. The teachers do the best they can but are for the most part, overwhelmed.

I had cleaned out my scrapbook stuff, since I no longer do it, and I decided to donate the bulk of it to my friend Connie’s school. I got a tour of the new school (they recently moved) and saw some of the students who I know, like Terren and Stephanie. Connie was very appreciative of the things I took there. She has some of the mothers of the students decorating empty wine bottles to sell to make $$ for the school. I offered to help show them some different things they can do to the bottles. I plan to stop by there next week and help out.

When I got home from there we ran over and gave the dog a shot of Ivermectin for the mange and I put some Fipronil on him for the fleas and ticks. How someone can allow their dog to get in this condition, I’ll never understand that. So sad that the dog has to live like that.

It was a busy week with a lot of smiling children and a lot of exhausted volunteers. I am so glad my friends volunteered to help out, at least they got to see what is involved and how time consuming it is. Many people are familiar with the TOMs one for one program but until you actually see it in action, you have no idea what is involved.

I am so grateful that I am able to be a part of this, it makes me feel so good knowing that the kids have a new pair of comfy TOMS shoes. Many thanks to all the volunteers, the group from Clinic Esperanza, the families, my friends, The Municipal of Santos Guardiola for donating their truck and especially to Nidia, her family and the amazing volunteers from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in San Pedro Sula, this wouldn’t be happening with out you!

I actually missed a Saturday at the airport (first in 3 months) and a party at a friends house on Sunday due to a damn toothache. My dentist was on vacation so I had to wait until he returned to be seen. It’s odd because it hurts, then doesn’t hurt, then hurts again. It comes in waves but what bothers it most is hot or cold, eating can be painful. I had a low key weekend and after the previous week, I really needed that. I was beyond the point of exhausted. (dental update, need to go to mainland to see an endodontist)

Sunday morning we took the boys for a swim in the lagoon. We go really early, like 7 AM, before anyone is there. They had an absolute blast running around.

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Barrio in the front

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Barrio, Gringo and Max

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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I can’t even begin to describe how much I love these dogs.

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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No clue what Barrio was doing, he just stood there and stared at me.

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Gringo and Max

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Max is lightning fast, Barrio is pretty fast too but Gringo is such a hulk of a dog, weighing in at 65#, he doesn’t move that fast but if he runs in to you, look out. It would be like having a steamroller run you down.

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They LOVE the water..

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Like little otters

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I love that they are all marked differently.

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Barrio, Gringo and Max

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3 tired boys on the way back to the truck

We brought them home, I bathed them, fed them scrambled eggs and yogurt and we all took a nice long nap.

That was my week in the tropics, hope yours was as fun filled and fulfilling as mine was. Until the next blog..

 

 

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