Put Foot Rallyon August 15, 2012
Every year Livingstone plays host to the Put Foot Rally. The Rally is made up of vehicles manned by fun-loving vehicle enthusiasts who want to travel and do some good in Southern Africa. The rally takes them through Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique and wherever they stop they donate shoes to vulnerable primary school children.
All the shoes are made by a factory in South Africa especially for the rally. They are designed to be strong and last a long time. No doubt many of the shoes will become hand-me-downs as they pass from one child to a brother, sister or cousin.
Prior to their arrival Tony King, the organiser, had identified the school – Senkobo Basic School. At this school there are 405 pupils of which 119 are orphans. Tony had visited the school to measure all the children’s foot size and then ordered 220 pairs of shoes. The shoes came to Livingstone and awaited the arrival of the rally.
At the end of June the rally arrived in Livingstone – about 60 vehicles drove into town and onto the Waterfront which has a large campsite. Tents were erected and plans were made for the following day.
At 10am the next day the vehicles and people set off from the Waterfront. Some participants were wearing fancy dress; some sat on the roof of the car. The long line of vehicles paraded through town and then drove up the Lusaka road towards Senkobo, about 20km north of Livingstone.
When the parade reached the school the children were awestruck. They had never seen anything like it in their lives. One of two of them even started to cry; they were a bit frightened. I heard one teacher say: Don’t worry, Peter, they are just having fun, but they have come to bring you a new pair of shoes.
After some entertainment from the children and some speeches from the dignitaries, the children lined up to receive their shoes. Chairs had been laid out in rows so that each Put Foot Rally member fitted shoes to each child. Then, wearing a new pair of shoes, the children jauntily walked off with the shoe box under his arm to meet his friends.
It was such a fun day for everyone involved and the children will all love their new shoes. It is probable that this is the first pair of new shoes they have had, and is such a great initiative, I just had to share it with you!