Here’s more from our Crocs Cares team’s trip to Kenya and Zimbabwe:
Day 3 and 4- Maasai Mara
270 Km outside of Nairobi – after four hours of travel and 25 bottles of water – we reached our next destination, the Maasai Mara. This is the home of over 900,000 Maasai, an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. These people are amazing, strong and have experienced things many of us couldn’t imagine: from walking 10 miles a day to get water, walking months to Tanzania to sell goats for money, and not to forget the many encounters with Lions and other wild animals in the Serengeti.
It was pretty amazing that, when driving through the desert, we would see the Maasai people walking many, many miles for essential needs. We would even see the kids would be walking to and from school with Crocs shoes on! In fact we stayed at the school with the Maasai and many of the ladies in the tribe were wearing Crocs shoes from a previous donation. In the past 4 months we have shipped 3 containers of shoes (estimated at 30K pairs) to our partner, GAIN, who has been getting the shoes to the Maasai families through local NGO’s. This is such a great reward being able to see the people who need them most, use them! It is a very hot and isolated place on the earth and it’s amazing to see humans walking long distances every day to keep the family living in these conditions.
Day 5 and 6 – Zimbabwe
The United Nations estimates that 2.8 million Zimbabweans will need food aid before the next harvest — an improvement from the nearly seven million who needed aid to survive until the just-ended harvest.
We pull up to a small village, in the middle of fields of Mango trees and wheat. We are expecting 200 people, but 600 showed up instead. The local villagers and surrounding villages were so excited about the shoes that the word spread quickly and people walked for many miles. This is a common occurrence in many countries and it’s difficult to not have a pair of shoes for each and every person, although we were able to distribute around 550 pairs. It is so important to help protect their feet, it’s amazing to see the cuts and abrasions acquired by not having shoes.
We began with a presentation of the shoes to the village, we explain that we are a company just trying to help and hope that they enjoy the shoes in every day living. These people were so happy to receive the shoes and chanted a warm thank you to Crocs and mention that they will be wearing these for a long time, helping to protect the feet from the rocks and brush. Even the men were dancing around in the shoes even though most of them wore tall black rubber boots from working in the mines.
After donating shoes in the village we traveled another hour or so to a remote orphanage where 30 children live. These orphans all live in the same house and sleep in a 10×15’ sized room. These children are smart, look forward to taking tests and going to school. The least we can do is provide essential items for them such as shoes and with GAIN food was also provided. By providing better nourishment the children’s health has become much better since GAIN and LIFE Ministries started their feeding program. These organizations will continue to provide clothing, shoes, medicines, and food and do as much as they can to help.