Thursday, September 30, 2010
Again, I looked through the pictures and when I saw that there was a girl named Briana (with one n instead of Brianna our granddaughter), I had to adopt her.
It takes several weeks to hear from your sponsored child, but Hurricane Gustav arrived before that and I was frantic to find out where she was and if she had been affected. I was relieved to discover that she was in Petite-Anse (Cap-Haiten), in the northern part of the country, about as far away from the affected areas as you could get and still be in Haiti.
Briana is one of 3 children, living with both her parents. The typical house in this area has a cement floor, brick walls, and tin roofs. The regional diet consists of maize, beans, chicken, fish, cassava, rice, goat and vegetables. Most adults are unemployed but some work as market traders and earn the equivalent of $67 per month.
The translator of her father's letter (only 8 years old, Briana does not write letters herself), says that "she is cute and elegant." They also say that she likes to sing.
I have only heard from her 3 times, so don't really have a feel for her yet.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Again, I flipped through the pictures and Pedro immediately caught my eye. He just had "that look" of all the Brasilian young men I'd known.
He lives with his mother and 3 siblings and he likes soccer, playing with cars, and art. He lives on the plains of Jose Pinheiro, in the north east of Brasil. His information says that typical houses are constructed of cement floors, brick walls and tile roofs. And, of course, he speaks Portuguese.
The regional diet consists of beans, chicken, bread, potatoes and rice. Common health problems in this area include yellow fever, parasites, malnutrition, and intestinal worms. Half the adults in this area are unemployed.
Pedro's letters are pretty brief and kind of cryptic, but usually incude a drawing of a car.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I flipped quickly through the pages of photos to see if anybody caught my eye. Anjali did for an unlikely reason. She had the fattest face of any of them. I identified with being "the fat kid" and wondered if that was why nobody had picked her up yet, so I decided she was going to be mine (though her subsequent photo showed none of that baby fat that had drawn me to her photo in the first place).
Anjali lives with her father and mother and 2 siblings. She likes to play house and group games and to play with dolls. She lives on the plans of Nandyal. Typical houses are constsructed of dirt floors, adobe walls and grass roofs. The primary ethnic groups are Shudra, apu, Kamma, Baliga, Mala and Madiga. The most commonly spoken language is Telugu, though Anjali is learning English and though her letters to me are translated, she always includes a few words in English that she has written herself.
She often writes about food and her liking of fruits, particularly mango, apples, oranges and bananas.
She also frequently includes drawings of flowers.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The children are sponsored through Compassion, International. From their web site:
Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.
The religion part of all this is slightly problematic because, though I believe in God, I am not in the least "religious." However, you don't find NON-religious groups working like this on behalf of children, at least not so visibly, and I feel the children are more important than who is taking care of them.
Over the years, I have sponsored many children through other organizations (Foster Parents Plan and Christian Children's Fund), but I liked Compassion because there is so much more encouraged contact with the children. They write frequently, sponsors are encouraged to write frequently (you can even e-mail your child). Photos seem to be sent twice a year and there are often group trips which sponsors can take to visit their child. I believe them to be doing good work and it's worth it, inserting a bit of God into my letters now and then, to help a child.
I am officially sponsoring three children, but there are sponsored children whose sponsors never write to them, so it's possible to become a "correspondence sponsor," which means you are the sponsor of record for the child, the money comes from someone else, but the letters are sent to you. I do feel a bit guilty when the sponsor sends a special monetary gift and I get the thank you letter, but I guess that's the way the system is set up.
In my next entries, I will introduce each of the children, in the order I took them on as a sponsor.