Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recycling Sneakers

Our yard sale didn't go too well a few weekends ago. We didn't advertise in the paper and one of our best placed signs got stolen. B*tches! I did make $25 in the deal (though poor Amy only made $3, and I got crap for it from my father "That's all you could make for your sister?!" Uhhh, sorry?) and thanked my lucky stars that I was $25 richer than when I started. Cool.

Of course the lack of sales meant that I had a lot of junk left over, including a stack of text books. Then there was a pile of stuff that wasn't exactly sellable but "too good" for the dump. This included some clothing and shoes. I put aside the clothing for Interfaith Services, now that we have an in with them (we gave them Catherine's clothes, all cleaned, ironed, and folded, and many of them designer!). The books went on and I've already sold 2! It makes me happy to think that other students out there will be reusing my books and did NOT get cheated by the resellers at their college/university it makes me more money than I ever could have reselling them to Tufts, so everyone is happy in the end, plus it's suuuper easy to sell on Watch, I'm probably missing some critical step, LOL, which is why I think it's easy. So far all I've had to do after listing something is pack it and mail it, so it is seemingly easy!

The shoes presented a special conundrum. I packaged them up intending to send them to the Nike recycling program. I've sent other shoes there and love the idea that they not only get recycled, but they're turned into surfaces for running tracks, and the thought of kids getting an opportunity to experience track and field is very special to me, especially after spending 4 years of high school running track and cross country. I consulted Nike's Let Me Play website for the address and started having second thoughts.....the website features some really crusty old looking shoes. While it's great to have that option for shoes that would otherwise be destined for the trash, my two pairs were still more than usable. The reason I was getting rid of them was not because I had worn through the sole or because they were falling apart - it's because the shoes had been causing me some toe and heel pain (I know waaaah waaaaah) and were no longer comfortable for me to run in. I kept them around for kicks (ha ha) but since buying a new pair of running shoes I noticed I don't wear the old ones - obviously I run in the new ones and for walking around here and there I tend to use my hiking sneaks (though they now have a bloody heel too, I just noticed I was bleeding through my sock ugh).

ANYWAY Long and short of it is - my sneakers were 'too nice' to be ground down into a track surface. I figured someone somewhere might still be able to use them. So I googled "recycling sneakers" and got this gem of a website: Run The Planet It looks like it may be useful to me in many ways, not just for recycling resources. Their page of recycling resources was the highlight though, and I was very happy to see quite an extensive and worldwide list of places that could use my shoes. Of course I gravitated to one located in Kenya, Shoe4Africa. The requirements to donate to Shoe4Africa were "gently used" running shoes with 100+miles left in them (because I am a running slacker I certainly had more than 100 miles left in mine, no problem) and I had to mail them to Eldoret myself. Ha ha like that's an issue. I actually have a stack of customs forms I keep in my car because I'm mailing sh*t to Kenya so often. I was happy to pack them up and send them off. Of course this meant I had to haul ass to the post office (only a half mile away) get caught up in a conversation with the postman about how I really shouldn't be writing < on my customs forms because who KNOWS how this could be interpreted overseas (nevermind that I received mail like this all the time, and send mail like this ALL THE TIME) and blah blah blah did I have anything liquid, hazardous, fragile or perishable and did I want to add insurance to my $24.40 package? Noooope. Just send. Hopefully in a few weeks time they'll be a Kenya running in my shoes :) I know that my size is good for men and women over there as most of my shoes were given to my friend Otieno who was quite excited about wearing them, lol, so I am just hoping these help someone out.

I also took the time to explore the Shoe4Africa website a bit more to learn about their hospital project. It's really extraordinary and they are definitely on my donation list (though this may take a bit as I just sent some cash to Haiti with a friend doing a well (as in the hole in the ground for water) project). This is particularly close to my heart as well. When I was in Oloitokitok in 2003, we visited a hospital, and it is really beyond description. Watch the video on Shoe4Africa and then imagine something worse - if you even can. Imagine broken windows, no sheets on the bed, and many severly burned children. That was Oloitokitok. Eldoret does not seem like a far cry from those conditions, and the peeps at Shoe4Africa are determined to change that by building a state of the art children's hospital. How wonderful is that? Building a hospital in Kenya is right on the top of my "when I make it big" list - you know, the list of stuff I'm gonna do if I hit the lottery, though I have considered writing to Oprah to tell her my sad sad story of visiting the children's ward in Oloitokitok and haven't ruled that option out yet, but should I hit the lottery, the first thing I'm gonna do is email Shoe4Africa and ask them how they organized themselves and to whom they contracted the work because the need for even the most basic healthcare necessities is just massive in Kenya and throughout the whole of Africa I am sure.

Well I never meant for this to be such a rambling post, just a word on this great charity I found out about today. Ah well. Think about donating if you have gently used running shoes or support their hospital project! Watch the video on the website! The cause is most certainly a fantastic one.

Finally, some selfish drama -I'm considering applying for a huge promotion at work.....word got everyone's talking as if I'm going to get hired, saying things like "I'm so happy Al is interested, we just have to convince her to take some public health courses." On the one hand, I'm happy people are talking as if this is going to work when I haven't even formally applied. On the other, I am so effing tired of going to school the thought of taking epidemiology and biostatistics makes me absolutely cringe. Then again, if they insist, I could use my bargaining skills to convince them to let me take intro only courses and audit them. On the other hand, I am tired just thinking about it. Ugh. What to do. I suppose I'll have to wait and see at the interview. I'm talking to another project manager tomorrow and the MD who's the principal investigator on my study now to get osme perspective. The current project manager insisted I'd have to take Biostats and Epi to move into this position, but I wouldn't exactly take her word for it, plus she is epidemiology obsessed to the point of ridiculousness (she always talks about how she saved her samples when a hurricane hit Houston and flooded MD Anderson. Big Whoop) so I'm not sure what she's telling me is totally necessary. Again, guess I'll have to wait and see, but honestly, if they really want me to take those classes and in the meantime I get a call from one of the environmental job openings - I might just bolt. I am so done with school.
The end.

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