A Boy and His Sneakers

A Boy and His Sneakers

- by Ashley Wilkins, R.N. 3 MIN READ
I hadn’t noticed ten-year-old Rothtim and his mother until after he had been treated by the doctors and was leaving our Hand of Hope clinic. Then again, once you saw him walk, it was hard not to notice him. 

Rothtim was obviously very small for his age, but also crippled. With each stride, the tops of his bare, calloused feet would scrape against the concrete. He had walked this way his entire life. I can still hear that sound in my ears. Moved with compassion, I ran and picked Rothtim up in my arms. 

Desperately Searching for Shoes

Sitting him down on a nearby bench, I asked his mother if they would be willing to wait while I got him a pair of shoes. She excitedly replied that they would. 

I made a tracing of his feet to get the correct size. I wanted to be absolutely sure that these shoes fit him. With the outline of Rothtim’s calloused little feet in my hand, I headed to the market. 

Finding a new pair of shoes in a developing nation is not an easy task. I located a shop on a street corner and began looking through the limited choices of new shoes. The majority of the shoes were either for girls or grown men, and most were covered in dust from the dirty street. But after some searching, I found two good, clean pairs of shoes in his size. I immediately gave thanks to the Lord because I had found Rothtim’s shoes. I picked out a few pairs of socks and quickly paid the clerk. 

Taking That First Step
When I got back to the clinic, little Rothtim and his mom were sitting on the bench, waiting patiently, exactly where I left them. We washed his dirty feet, put the socks on and slid them into Rothtim’s new pair of shoes. He sprang up and began walking about. Amazingly, the shoes actually acted as a corrective device, which allowed him to walk almost normally! 

Most Cambodians, like Rothtim and his mother, live on just one U.S. dollar per day, making the simple luxury of owning a pair of shoes impossible. For just $10 USD, we were able to purchase Rothtim clean socks and two new pairs of shoes. 

In an instant, with something as seemingly insignificant as a pair of shoes, Rothtim experienced the love of Christ. The smile that stretched across his face was indescribable. And I could not help but smile in return as he and his mother repeatedly bowed to me in thanks.


Updated: October 2022

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