One of the blogs that I've recently gotten into is So Close. The writer, a South African lady, is just really hilarious and fun to read. In a recent post, she comments about how often she and her children are barefoot and how her husband who covers his feet all the time is 'Not a true African'. Now I found this very interesting for several reasons. I think this is one of those black and white issues, especially here in Africa. In Sudan, wearing shoes seems to be a thing of social class. The minute your household has enough funds, everyone gets a flip-flop (no matter how basic) to wear. In places that I've been, it is actually a sign of poverty, rather than mere comfort, to go about walking the world with no shoes. This seems to especially be true in cities. It seems like it is really only white expats (or whites who stayed the course) who voluntarily float about the continent shoeless.

Now all of this said, I'm totally of the 'be barefoot as much as possible' mindset. I don't know where I get it from as it certainly isn't something that is popular in my family. My friend Mary and I totally sat in our little Manhattan cubicles barefoot and worked around without shoes the minute the office was quite enough. Here in Sudan, I basically LIVE in my Chaco flip flop (they are a bit pricey but worth every single penny) which is the closest I get to being barefoot as there are many thorns on my compound. Even in Juba where others have more city-like shoes, I find myself mostly sticking to my flip. I recently bought a very cute pair of hot pink shoes when I was in Kampala, but my feet went into super shock after wearing them for about 10 minutes as if giving me a 'how dare you entrap me' warning! The last time I was in Nairobi, I also bought a very cute pair of shoes but still always carried my flip in my purse (those shoes with heels, certainly didn't make it back to Sudan). While this life of barefeet (or only in flip flops) means that I get VERY dirty looks when I go for pedicures, I'm all about the comfort.

So what's your stance on barefeet? Do people where you are always cover up (especially the kids)? Is covering the feet a sign of someone who isn't a 'true African?'


dana said...

happy feet

jkind said...

yesterday was a glorious day here in jersey city as it was the first time in ages that my feet saw the sun. Oh what a glorious day of spring it is when the flip-flops make it out of the closet