the PAPUA POST

Follow the Adventure: The Brazeau's Serving In Papua

Sharing Shoes

Shoes. We all have them. And if you are from Canada like me you have multiple pairs for multiple occasions and seasons. Sandals, dress sandals for summer, boots and dress boots for winter, indoor and outdoor running shoes, the list can go on and on. 

If you are from Papua you most likely have only one article of foot wear and you are born with them. Bare feet. Some people have cheap sandals or sneakers worn til they fall apart but you are still basically barefoot. Papuans, and the MKs who grown up here, have wide, flat, strong feet.

As a gym teacher I am constantly fighting with the kids here to keep their shoes on. I don't want stubbed and broken toes, cuts and splinters to deal with all day. "Tolong beritahi orang tua anda bahwa anda perlu sepatu untuk olahraga." (Please tell you parents you need shoes for gym). Every day. "Tidak sandal. Sepatu" (Not sandals. Shoes).

Every week day after school the kids from Papua United FC come up to use the school field for practice and I often watched as they did. (Jeremy and I will be helping upon our return to the country). One thing I always noticed is that the kids don't always have good equipment and sometimes none at all. The thing that really struck me was the children that were wearing only one cleat. I looked around the field and I could inevitably find the matching shoe on the opposite foot of another child. These kids have so little that they have to share a single seat of cleats. One bare foot. One foot that can be spike, stomped on and hurt. One protected and safe. But the fellowship and fun that comes from Papua United makes it worth while. These kids gain so much from their participation in the club. They gain a family, faith and discipline.