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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Pretty "Tire"ing Job

“NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION,” so the old adage goes. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the physiotherapy department onboard the Africa Mercy. When patients’ legs are put in casts, they can’t wear shoes – but they can’t go barefoot, either. The Rehabilitation Team has found a suitable, inexpensive, and easily available way to give each patient the foot protection needed during their recovery. The answer is . . . tire shoes.

Anama Latta, a day-worker in physiotherapy, is responsible for producing shoes from tires in various sizes to accommodate patients. He gathers old tires from motorbikes and begins by removing the wire inside with a knife. Then he measures for sizes – 10” for large, 6” for medium, and 4” for small. Using a box cutter, he cuts incisions to mark where he will use the scissors to cut through. Next, he cuts three holes on each side. Then proper lengths of polypropalene ribbon are used to tie the shoes on.
Anama says the tire shoes are stronger than other footgear they might use, and they provide more protection on the sides of the foot. “When I was a child in Togo, I used to wear shoes like these to go to my Daddy’s farm,” said Anama. “They protect better than flip-flops, and the cast doesn’t get wet.”
Tire shoes last longer than ordinary shoes, and patients can walk easily in them. Anama says he enjoys making the tire shoes. “This is the way I can help them (the patients and the Rehabilitation Team), and I’m happy to make them.”

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