Intro & Visit Day #1 (BR417)
Visit Day #2 (BR453)
Visit Day #3 Part 2 (BR329)
As a consequence of wanting to fit all the visits in the space of a week, Day 3 had two Project visits, meaning only half a day at each Project. This is a mistake I won’t be making again. The day started off ordinarily, but progressed to a positive day of joy and celebration.
First Stop: Project BR-110
In the morning I re-visited Alice at BR110.
To start with we were 45 minutes late, which meant even less time to spend with Alice. I then learned that she still thought I was her sponsor, even though the Zimmermans had been investing in her for almost three years. I wondered how that happened, and we quickly cleared up this misunderstanding.
I learned that the Project had partnered with Coca Cola to provide employment skills to members of the community from 16-30 years old. We began by watching some presentations by members of this Program.
The most memorable part of the morning was the home visit. While not necessarily ‘positive,’ it was powerful and impacting, and God used it to put my petty frustrations in perspective.
Alice is 13, shy and quiet with a beautiful smile when it can be cajoled to appear.
Her personality hasn’t changed much since I first visited four years ago and despite my conversational ‘interrogation’ I had trouble getting much out of her. Alice and her three siblings live in one room out the back of her grandmother’s house. ONE ROOM.
A big double bed takes up most of the space, while a fridge, sink, stove and wardrobe sit against the walls. No bathroom. On previous visits we had only seen the grandmother’s place because they had been too embarrassed to show me their place.
Alice was unable to tell me what she was good at or what she liked to do. She didn’t immediately list a dream for her future. Nothing appeared to come to mind. The turning point came when I dug a bit deeper and asked about the challenges she faces in her life, and what she could change if she could. Her father was mentioned. Apparently he is a drug addict and has been absent from the family for a long time. This wounds Alice’s 13-year-old heart deeply and she started crying.
It’s situations like this where the role of a sponsor is extra important, to provide that voice of love, encouragement and hope to fill the gaping wound of abandonment and insecurity that affects so many kids. Letters are so important. The kids often keep them in a secret place.
I felt so helpless and my heart hurt for this precious girl. I thanked God for the opportunity to pray for Alice. It was a holy and powerful moment. I reminded her that God promises that He will never leave us or let us down, even when our family members do. I prayed for God’s strength and comfort, and encouraged her to keep her eyes on Him.
We returned to the Project for a nice lunch prepared by the Project staff. I LOVE the generosity and hospitality of the Project staff. We played some Uno and I took a quick tour of the Project and got some photos before it was time to leave.