A Broken Shoe


My favorite pair of sandals sort of fell apart while I was wearing them today. Fortunately I was traveling most of the day from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh so I didn’t need them much but I will say that whenever My shoes were within sight of people they definitely brought out the smiles.

My broken shoes made me think about some of the differences between the rich and the poor and between the developing world and just about every place else. In the developed world my shoes would be toast. Straps breaking and soles falling off are usually taken as clear indications that it is time to bite the bullet and buy a new pair. But not here.

Here in the developing world – here among the poor – it is simply time to break out the glue and find a needle that will sew through leather. You see – nothing ever goes to waste among the poor. They have recycling down to an art and understand how to get the most out of everything – including shoes. In this area the poor can teach us a lot. How much more could we save and then give if we would only choose to keep things longer and use them fully? So do I go shoe shopping tomorrow or go find some glue? So how do you say “Rubber Cement” in Khmer?

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