Stilettos 'n Sand

Posted on July 20th, 2011

If you have read any of Alexander McCall’s books about Botswana, you are aware of the Batswana’s love affair with shoes. In our small community of about 7,000 people, there are at least 10 stores that sell shoes, three being exclusively shoe stores. When I do the math, it amazes me that these stores all stay in business. But then, I remember, these people LOVE shoes.

However, it is a task to keep one’s shoes clean and dust-free. Botswana is a dusty country as most of it lies in the Kalahari Desert. Sand is a daily factor with which one deals.
Recently, we attended an elaborate wedding with many attendants, richly garbed and shod. The bride in a gorgeous wedding dress with satin rose buds and wearing silver stilettos proceed down the ‘aisle’ which consisted of reed mats laid out so she could walk with little trouble and keep her shoes spotless.

Unfortunately, the attendants who also had on high heels were not offered a reed mat and thus stepped carefully as they navigated the sand. It takes some practice, but they were able to do it. One just basically walks on one’s toes and never plants one’s heels in the sand. Tricky, but doable. However, I have not tried and do not plan to, but I take my shoes off to these women who make it look effortless!!!

Even though we don’t know the couple personally, we were blessed to be invited by Mowa, the groom’s nephew who was in the wedding party. Since weddings are rare, it was exciting. Even though the wedding was based on the Western model, the loud music and lively dancing were definitely Botswanan. Our prayers are that this couple will stay faithful to each other, as divorce and infidelity are rampant here.

I have lovely pictures but the internet speed it so slow I was not able to download and show you!


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