Toby's Blog

Congrats to Dr. Aruasa

Although we were sad to say goodbye to Dr. J.Kibosia who did a great job of leading Moi Referral Teaching Hospital we are happy to see a great replacement in the name of Dr. Wilson Aruasa.  Both gentlemen are on the Board for the Shoe4Africa Children's Hospital.

Dr. Aruasa is a hands on guy who has a proven track record.  For us he has been a huge helping chairing our monthly meetings we held when constructing our children's hospital.  Congratulations Daktari!

School days & school help

The gift of education is such a gift... the future will be a better place for it.  In the big picture when you think of a giant seesaw state of the world today we are gently shifting over to a better world.  Thinking of knowledge shared, knowledge gained... access.

Sometimes in a classroom, sometimes at home, but it is always heartwarming when a family on one side of the world helps a young child on the other side of the world... they are making a world of a difference to that girl, this girl....

Thanks Michelle, Marc & family for making the difference.

A beautiful New Year's Eve tale 31.12.15

A poem by Loredana Delucchi - NYC 4 p.m. 31st Dec 2015
People hurrying home to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Restaurants beautifully decorated with balloons.
Hundreds of people gathering in Time Square.
Temperatures well above normal.
Joy is in the air.
I get home from work. Home feels empty.
I would have called my husband to see when he is coming home.
But he's not at work any more. He is in heaven. I miss him.
I cry.
I made no plans for the evening. I am free.
I take a pair of chopsticks and convert them into knitting needles.
They are ready for someone who wants to learn how to make a bear.
I see my knitting needles. I start to knit.
It is 6 pm in New York, midnight in Italy.
My new bear is done.
I call my family to welcome the new year with them.
Moscato D'Asti in my glass, the bear smiling at me.
We celebrate across the distance.

My family goes to bed. 

I dream about my bear delivering joy to a child.
I take a picture of the bear and send it to Toby in Africa.
Text messages with holiday wishes keep arriving from many friends.
In two hours it will be midnight in Uruguay, where my friend Adriana lives.
What if I make a new bear to celebrate with her?
Will I be able to finish it on time?
I pick the yarn and start to knit.
Live video from Time Square plays on my computer.
People from all over the world are together, celebrating.
Joy is in the air and I feel it.
My fingers hurrying. 
Finally, the bear comes alive.
I send its photo to Uruguay right at midnight.
We celebrate across the distance.

A friend from Venezuela sends me best wishes. 

Her midnight will be in 30 minutes.
What if? I wonder.
What if I make a new bear to celebrate with her? 
I remember two unfinished bears I was making in the subway while on my way to work.
Would I be able to finish one on time?
"Impossible" says my brain.
I take one and start working on it.
I smile at the challenge I just created for myself.
I embroider the eyes, nose and smile. 
I sew up the sides. I make a scarf. 
It is midnight in Venezuela. A new bear is born.
I take a photo with my phone and send it to my friend.
Smiling, we celebrate across the distance.

In less than 20 minutes it will be midnight in New York.

What if I finish the last bear?
Would I be able to make it?
"This is insanity", says my brain.
I decide to try.
Jessie J is singing 'Imagine' in Time Square.
The clock is ticking. The countdown begins.
...11, 10, 9, 8 ,7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Voila', the last bear of 2015 is born.
My heart overflows with joy.
I put tags on the bears:  "Knitting Without Borders" for Shoe4Africa.
Wishing that the children who receive the bears be blessed with health and happiness for the rest of their lives I too go to bed.
Happy New Year! 
Loredana Delucchi

Christmas Day in Kenya

A great day, I took a bunch of foreigners who are staying in Iten down to the hospital to greet the children.  We had done a gift drive earlier in the month and bought over 65-gifts for all the patients who would be lying in bed.

Next I invited World Champion Eliud Kipchoge, the best runner in the world right now at the marathon distance - his last three races have been wins at Chicago, London, and Berlin.  Also Double Marathon World Champion Abel Kirui, 2:04 marathoner Jonathan Maiyo, and former Boston Champion Wesley Korir to hand out those gifts.  Also on hand was Eldoret's top Hospital CEO Dr. Wilson Aruasa.

It was a fantastic surprise and with gifts, cake, food, drinks and more we made a great event that I hope will become an annual happening.

Eliud serves Cake to one little happy kid!

Boxing Day 2015

Today my morning was spent in the Shoe Room!

Thanking- Kawasaki Higashi of Japan, Katrin Fleischer of Germany, Mark Matushak of NYC, Florian Kulke of Freiburg, Germany, Stefan Greiner of Stuttgart, Gerassimos Miaris, M. Vogt of Koln, Germany, Ralph Sander of Dresden, Toshiki Hatakeyama of Morioka, Japan, Carole Perciballi of Glen Head, NY.  Names I am reading as I go through boxes of running shoes.  These kind people, amongst others, have really helped to make our shoe programs successful.  I have been going through the store room sorting shoes for our next event (28th Dec) and cleaning up from the big shoe give away on Dec. 24th.  Carole and Katrin both decorated their boxes making them into pieces of art work. Here are some of the shoes that we gave away at the 24th event in Iten:

Christmas Gift Drive!

We put out a call for Christmas Gifts and cards.  Thanks so much to Bernd Erpenbeck who is a long time supporter of Shoe4Africa and really set the pot bubbling with a BIG donation (we asked for $5 or $10) and he gave $1,000!  Thanks to Constance Horner and her kindergarten kids for about thirty hand made cards and a $50 donation, ditto Katie Martin Cash & Cards, Thanks to David Pultz for $50, Jason Chernikoff for $100, Tim Readwin $20, Nancy Shanley $25, Michelle Davies-King $75, Yara Vargas $10, Sarah Simpson $5, Muge Rice $20, Eve Mastro $50, Irene Kimaiyo $100, Barbara Sievers $35, Colleen DeBaise $50, Ingemarie Nilsson $30, Next level Running $25, Terry Brill $36, Cathy Huang $100, Kev Freeburn $100, Giuliano DE Portu $100, Deborah Isaacs $20, Lynne Hill and more, let me check the records.. Thanks all!

Half of the cards we received!

Holiday Gift Drive

It’s the holiday season & I have a request for you.  This year, on Christmas day, I want to walk around the wards of our new hospital in Eldoret, Kenya.  Every patient who is able will have been discharged, and sent home for the holidays.  I am asking you for those who remain behind.  Those poor little kids who most likely wouldn’t be receiving gifts, most of whom will be lucky if they have a visitor – these children are those who fate has forgotten in life’s lottery.

I have given secondhand shoes to people who’ve broken down and cried not because of getting the item, but of the fact that someone, somewhere, (usually an unknown person in a foreign country) cared enough to think of the less fortunate and stood up to help.

I’ve been a sick child at a hospital who was released on Christmas Eve.  I know how wonderful it was to go home to a house full of festivity, fun, and gifts.  I don’t know what it is like to stay behind.  I don’t know so many things about the world for these kids, but I do know for sure a little bit of your help can make a world of difference in their life.

Please, if you can find it in your heart, do join me this Christmas by sending a card to a child & donating $5/$10 so we can buy a present for a child at the Hospital.  If you care, beyond the gift, I know it will mean the world to them.                                        

Executive Director

What is in a job role?  Working in charity is a funny kettle of fish.  It is a bizarre career and often I try to explain to people some of the roles and usually end up not really explaining.  Then every charity has its own individual leads/angles that further complicate the issue.  However I recently saw this posting that I like, so I post this as an explanation -

Nonprofit executive directors are required to juggle multiple complex roles -- chief fundraiser, working with the board, financial guru, master planner, community builder, facility manager, HR specialist, and more. Successful executive directors understand that even as they lead, manage and motivate, their most important responsibility remains as the caretaker of their nonprofit's mission. They are responsible for the vision -- and for driving and inspiring passion for their cause.

I like to believe that the mission, and the vision, of Shoe4africa has remained true to the core from Day one till today.

Of course a vision expands, and is often changed by the financial reports, especially true for the majority of the small NFP.  (which are the majority).

Let me tell you my vision... a world where Children don't go hungry, where children receive first class medical care, where no child is beaten, no child is born affected by disease, where every child has a right to an education, when each child is a part of a family, when a child is allowed to play... in fact let me just say this is a just fraction as I have not even gotten past children and it is beyond the one line I promised myself I would write.


Playground complete - Oct

Looking out in the Hospital garden we now have wooden swings and a climbing frame/tower.  Thanks to Dave & Linda who pulled together a team to construct this "at cost" we now have a great little play center.  In fact one of the ladies who works in finance told me that she will be coming over in her lunch break to relax and take a swing!

The grass has not grown as yet as we had a long dry period in Kenya but the rumors are that heavy rains are coming and apparently that is what the "grass" requires.  Hopefully we can make some peaceful play areas in the large four acre plot that we have surrounding the hospital.  I quite fancy the idea of building a little jogging track for the kids to run round...

I am trying to upload a picture for this post but as of right now the Internet (and its lack of power) is refusing to oblige!  But pics will be coming asap


Fashion Institute of Tech. Oct 2015

I used to teach at FIT, or at least teach Running... and I hope life lessons (I would take my runners to eat Cheese Cake rather than do long warm down runs, and we would go to James Bond movies instead of going to technical meetings at races).

Anyway I had a very inspired athletics director who allowed me to do this, Kerri-Ann.  She gave me rope to be 'a bit different'.  Anyway I left FIT a couple of years ago after working there for quite some time and have kept in touch with Kerri.

So when I needed soccer cleats I asked a few friends and Kerri responded.  She put me in touch again with DJ who runs the soccer team and he is helping us out!  Thanks so much.  I got a big bag of supplies with more to come!  Really appreciated.

PS - some things never change!  Going round NYC doing shoe pick ups... on the 'corporate' subway which is a big upgrade, I used to pull these bags on the back of my bicycle!

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