Posts Tagged ‘El Salvador’

How I Became a Barefooter

I am often asked how I got into barefooting. It’s one of those things that come up either in casual conversation with friends or in most of the interviews I’ve had on the subject over the years. The truth is that I don’t remember clearly how, why or when I started disliking the feel of things on my feet. What I do remember, though, is the fact that I started wanting to be barefoot at a fairly early age — the first clear memories of my wanting to be barefoot are from when I was as little as 6 years old. I’m sure the actual desire started when I was much younger, but I guess I didn’t consciously recognize it until I was that age.

I was born and grew up in El Salvador. It’s a tiny nation of 21,500 square kilometres nestled in Central America, surrounded by Guatemala to the west, Honduras to the north, Nicaragua to the East and the Pacific Ocean bathing its entire south end. El Salvador is blessed by beautiful warm and hot weather year-round, high humidity and gorgeous landscapes and beaches — it is very island-like down there. Anyone who hears this description would assume that El Salvador is also blessed with people who are laid back and care free. It might be, in some ways and compared to other Western societies. Nevertheless, unfortunately for me, I grew up as the 4th son of a pretty uptight couple: a well-known artist/interior designer and an entrepreneuress, both products of very self-conscious, uptight, middle class families.

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“barefoot”


barefoot, Originally uploaded by ratterrell.

I found this photo on flickr.com, posted by a guy who seems to be a member of a religious group that goes on missions helping the less fortunate in developing countries. This photo is from a “dump” in Nicaragua where many, very poor, families live and raise their young. The first paragraph of his caption reads:

“over 200 kids and their families live in diriamban dump. our church has started a feeding program within the dump. the youth went and helped within the feeding program on two of the days we re in diriamba. i’m guessing that around a fourth of the kids we saw in the dump had no shoes. we are now starting to work on getting them shoes.”

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