The footwear of choice here in Niger is definitely flip-flops. They are comfortable, cheap, and practical. I mean, have you ever tried wearing closed -in shoes in sand? It doesn't take long before they're full of sand and that's not very comfortable!
One day one of my friends came to visit me. She and her family are living
out in the bush during the rainy season. She had on some kind of fancy shoes, but she said she was going to take them off as soon as she got outside of town and then walk home barefoot. Her flip-flops had broken and she couldn't walk in fancy, impractical shoes. I asked her how long it would take to get home and she said two hours. The way I figure, that is at least 6 miles if you walk moderately fast and 8 miles if you walk really fast. Imagine that...6 miles barefoot.
What could I do? I thought of all my shoes...brown, black, and white... and decided I really didn't need the nice red and blue flipflops I was wearing. Flip-flops cost not more than $2.00 for a really nice pair or $1.00 for a cheap pair. But she didn't even have that much because all the money she has goes for food. So I said, "You can have these if they fit you." It was rather like Cinderella's sisters trying to shove their feet into the glass slipper. She crammed her foot in and her heel was hanging off the back, but with a huge smile she declared that they fit just fine! I'm sure she had a much easier walk home.
I saw her last week and they still didn't fit, but she was still happy with them!! And guess what? I haven't really missed them!