I needn't have bothered.
Not because I didn't get plenty of wear out of those lovely things. Turns out Ugandans love a party, and not wearing heels would have been, well, a bit lame.
Rather, it's because shoes are available for purchase pretty much anywhere in Uganda.
Which brings me to TOMS Shoes.
TOMS Shoes is a for-profit company that promises "with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one."
They also have this awareness campaign coming up on April 10 called "A Day Without Shoes."
TOMS calls it "The day we spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life by taking off our own."
I had never heard of TOMS Shoes or A Day Without Shoes until my friend Thera wrote about it last year. Thera spent three years living in Karamoja--a very remote part of Uganda that is near the border with South Sudan.
She had just finished up, in the course of her work, a series of extensive surveys asking primary schools in Karamoja what, if money was no object, they would change about their schools.
These schools, she writes, "are surely the poster-children of 'poor schools in Africa.'"
And their answers "had nothing to do with shoes. or clothing. or gifts, really. the point is: out of 13 schools, 13 head teachers and at least 26 teachers not one person mentioned shoes. or hand-outs."
Thera contributed to a counter-campaign to TOMS shoes called A Day Without Dignity, organized by Good Intentions Are Not Enough.
Here is a video they made--it's fantastic.
Because when you come down to it, the root of the problem isn't that kids in Africa don't have shoes.
The problem is that people are poor, and can't buy shoes.
And by taking the problems of poor people and focusing on a socially conscious action that serves our need to make a difference, raise awareness, or do something, we end up complicit in a different sort of exploitation.