In July 2012, 13 Oregon State University students traveled with Holt to Silti, Ethiopia. While they came to build homes for families in Holt’s family-strengthening program, they also brought with them over 200 pairs of shoes to distribute among the families. For some, these would be the first pair of shoes they had ever owned.
by Robin Munro, Senior Writer
Silti is a peaceful farming community at the westernmost edge of the Great Rift Valley. With breathtaking mountain views and a patchwork landscape in eye-popping shades of green, life in this fertile valley of southern Ethiopia is easy to romanticize.
In many ways, Silti is an idyllic setting. Here, children run barefoot through open fields – safe from the dangers of the city. Everyone knows everyone’s child, and the whole community is looking out for them. There are no factories in Silti. No cars or parking lots. No power lines, no landfills. No one has paved this paradise.
In other ways, life in Silti, Ethiopia is not so ideal. Silti is rich in culture and natural beauty. But in the strictest definition of the term, the residents of Silti are achingly poor. They do not choose to live without electricity or running water. Most would prefer to live in homes made of brick, not of mud and dung. And it’s not just children playing in summer who go barefoot. For many of Silti’s residents, even shoes are a luxury. Continue reading “Oregon State Students Give Over 200 Pairs of Shoes to Families in Ethiopia”