Three Cheers for Colombia!
Our recent boot drop in Colombia was a blast!
First, because it is summer so my wife and daughters were able to come along for the trip. I typically have to leave them behind for these adventures, so it was great for us to all get to go together this time. And, just as important, my daughters got to see for themselves how giving poverty the boot transforms both the recipient and the giver.
Another reason was the World Cup. It was in full swing upon our arrival, and we got swept up in the excitement and loyalty of the Colombian fans. From our base in the city of Cali to the remote mountain outposts where we outfitted children with new boots the talk was all about fútbol! The bright Colombian colors of red, blue, and yellow hung in almost every shop window, and decorated almost everything else. In a way it reminded me of the tricolor Romanian flags and banners hung in for celebrations when I was a boy.
And then, of course, there was our mission. Bringing brand new Roma Boots to the poor children in the remote parts of Colombia. Giving these children dependable footwear will enable them to safely walk to school. All of us at Roma believe that by giving these children a better chance of attending school, we are laying the foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty that is prevalent in so many underserved communities across the globe.
This time, after exiting the city by truck, we drove until we reached the area of the Andes mountains where roads can no longer take us where we want to go. The last hour of our journey to the village of San Antonio was by horse. And, it was the perfect way to see the countryside. Colombia is beautiful with lush vegetation and breathtaking views.
When we got there, it was a day of meeting the children and their families, outfitting brothers and sisters with new boots, and of course, playing a little soccer while taking in the amazing views. I will never take for granted the joy and kindness people show, even when living in remote areas with few resources. And, this day was no exception, maybe the best ever because my wife and girls were there to see it too. The happiness of these children was contagious, and when we got back on our horses and headed back down the mountain, the smile stayed on my face for quite sometime. By the time the truck was getting back into the city, we were tired and ready for rest at the end of a long day. The city of Cali seemed to reflect our mood - the businesses were quiet, the sun setting over the empty streets. But then, a roar washed over the city - pouring from every house and gathering place: GOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!! Colombia had just scored against Uruguay on their way to victory. We felt a bit victorious as well. Spending a day giving poverty the boot will do that.