Today in My History2000: I'll Do It Tomorrow
2001: Oh, to be in England
2002: Tacky Funny Crap
2003: Rolling Thunder
2004: What do you say to a Living Legend?
2005: Top Dog
2006: A Strange Alliance
2007: A Nice Place to Be From
2008: Are You Barking at Me?
2009: Move Over, Herman
2010: Versatile Duct tape
2011: Somebody Needs Better PR
"The Meaning of It All"
"Little Shop of Horrors"
Books Read in 2012
"I want to grow hair, I want to grow up
I want to go to Boise"
Most Recent on My Santa Barbara, April 2012
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5 May 2012
Walt found a story in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day. It was a story of Laurie Tragen-Boykoff, who decided to sponsor a child through Christian Children's Fund many years ago. She was paired up with Nicky, an 8 year old boy in Zimbabwe. She sponsored him for eight years, and they wrote to each other. But CCF pulled out of Nicky's village and the sponsorship had to end. Since sponsors and children were not permitted to know each other's address, their relationship ended as well.
Nicky finished high school, and got a job to earn money to go to college. He worked in a copper mine and in a margarine factory "where gases from the manufacturing process were soflammable that workers couldbe arrested just for possessing a matchstick." Eventually he went to college, got a degree in business and went to work for Barklays Bank.
In 2011, Nicky went into an internet cafe, logged on to Facebook and looked for the name "Boykoff." He found Laurie's daughter. Over the next months, Laurie and Nicky exchanged e-mails, and ultimately Laurie and her husband decided to bring Nicky and his new wife Ketty (now pregnant with their first child) to the United States. The story was written to cover the reunion of the two friends at the airport.
It's one of a host of "what a change sponsorship made in my life" stories that I see from time to time. It brought tears to my eyes.
The next day, I received a first letter from the new child, Somai, that I have agreed to be correspondence sponsor for. That means I don't contribute money, but I am the person who writes to him, since for whatever reason, the person (or organization) sponsoring him doesn't want to write to him -- and for these kids, the letters are a huge part of their program.
Somai is in the hills of Gangapada, in northeastern India. I knew that he was 6 years old, an only child and that he lived with his mother and father. Both parents are farmers and Somai's performance in school was "below average."
What I learned from this first letter (which, given his young age, is written by a staff worker for him) is that the literacy rate in this area is very low, that his parents are both illiterate, and that Somai is the first person in his family to attend school.
I don't know why I am so touched to read that. There are a lot of children that I write to, and many that I sponsor and they are each special to me, but I look into the face of this little boy and wonder what an impact on his life his participation in the Compassion program is going to have--and how will it help his family. It makes me want to write to him frequently and to cheer on his progress as he begins to learn his letters and to read.
I also had a surprise package from Compassion this week. A group of sponsors traveled to Kenya and met my child, Murugi (19 years old). They sent pictures from the visit and also a special picture Murugi had made, tracing around her hand, and decorating the page with stickers. It made me feel all warm 'n' stuff to get this unexpected gift.
Soon I hope to hear from Fred in the Philippines that he received the package I sent him. Probably I won't hear for another 2 months, though.
But it is amazing the friendships you make, how you grow to love these children and their families, whom you will probaby never meet. Unlike CCF, Compassion does have a process whereby you can continue to contact your child, if s/he speaks English and wants to continue the relationship after it ends (another reason why Compassion is my sponsorship organization of choice).
For now, I am going to be closely watching Somai and hoping that his
ability to be enrolled in a Compassion School will have a major impact on his life.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Murugi's group in Kenya