" Haitians develop multiple health issues because of the lack of proper footwear ."
" We noticed multiple gait and foot issues in each community we spent time with ."
Photos : @ iStock . com / JasonRWarren , wongkaer , MissHibiscus Photos : @ Shutterstock . com / fototi photography , Goran Bogicevic its final descent you begin to see how Haiti is worlds apart from us . Walking out of luggage claim was our first taste of this high paced city . At first it was intimidating , crowds of people grabbing for your luggage pointing you in different directions and hustling all around . Looking back and understanding the survival mentality and extreme competition the Haitians face you begin to change your perspective .
Driving through port au Prince only further highlighted the extreme conditions that emanated into the Haitian community . As we weaved through traffic and overcrowded markets , we stared out the windows in disbelief of the level of poverty , the trash , the buildings barely standing , children unclothed , families bathing in polluted water running through the alleys .
As we drove further into the rural communities we noticed more land , beautiful views , but even more poverty . The conditions made the roughest parts of Miami seem like gated communities . Again , your perspective begins to change .
Despite the conditions , the poverty , the helpless feeling you get , the Haitian people , especially the children , are so full of joy . They are so energetic , happy and kind . It is truly inspiring . We visited schools and orphanages and remote villages fitting over 400 children with footwear . Most of the children had no shoes or socks . The surfaces they walk each day are extremely dangerous and many Haitians develop multiple health issues because of the lack of proper footwear . Without shoes many cannot and do not attend school as well . We noticed multiple gait and foot issues in each community we spent time with . Our group of volunteers had the task of sorting , transporting and organizing the distribution of the footwear . We then measured , washed and fit each child . Most of them didn ’ t have shoes and their feet were dirty , callused , and cut up . They were excited just to be with us . We laughed , we played and we cried with them . We thought we would be there to make a positive impact and a difference in their lives , but looking back , they are the ones that have impacted us so much more .
You leave wanting to do more . Not just for Haiti , but for mankind . You are sad and happy at the same time . You feel anger , you feel joy . You almost don ’ t want to go home . You feel like you may not fit in and others may not understand you or quite get it . As you begin to adjust back to your old “ norm ” you slowly realize you are forever changed and the little things you may have once been bothered by , don ’ t seem to matter . All the “ things ” we have don ’ t really make us happy . And so many of our fellow Americans take so much for granted . We are all part of something so much bigger .
< Soles4Souls is a not for profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing . https :// soles4souls . org /