Last Friday I had the great privilege to meet two little lifechangers, our two new sponsor children Luis and Eimy. The story behind how these two got connected to our family is actually pretty neat. So, as most of you know, my parents came to visit me in June to see me (of course), but also to learn more about the work of AMG. We visited schools together and learned more about how life changing AMG’s work is. The children in the schools and centers receive medical and dental care, education, breakfast and lunch, healthy snacks, they can play in a safe environment, they can make friends, learn how to be social, learn how to take care of themselves and their families and they can receive councelling and legal assistence when life is getting really hard. And when they are old enough, they can even receive help to find a well-paid job. But none of that is possible without the help from generous sponsor from all over the world.
AMG works really hard to find a sponsor for every child, so they feel supported by someone and so they can develop a relationship with someone very far away. The sponsor writes letter with the child and sends donations to AMG, so AMG can cover all the costs for the child. When my parents visited the AMG projects all over the country, they were really impressed by everything they saw. They decided to ‘financially adopt’ two more children, next to the two we already have. So we went to Ruth, Head of Education at AMG, to tell her that we wanted to sponsor the ‘hard cases’, children that could hardly find a sponsor because of their age or background. A few weeks later the great news came: they had found two kids! A few days after that I received their pictures and their stories in my mailbox. Curious as I am, I started to look for the children in the school next to the office. It didn’t take long to find them. For weeks, I could not tell them they had a sponsor, I could only observe them to see what kind of children they were. When my parents and I went to Antigua, we bought some presents for our new family members and for weeks, the little packages were catching dust on my little desk in the office, waiting to be unwrapped.
And this Friday, I finally got to officially meet the children that will hopefully be part of our lives for a long, long time. I think I was actually more nervous than they were, because I didn’t want to be a boring, dissappointing sponsor. Crazy thought of course, because 99% of the kids here never get to meet the person behind the letters. For Luis and Eimy, it is the other way around. They first meet their sponsor and then receive letters.
It was really awesome to know more about the children behind the pictures. And I can tell you, the child you see on the picture can be really different in real life! They were both really shy, even though they are very hyperactive and social when they are in the classroom.
So, here’s what I got to know about them.
Eimy (apparently you pronounce it as Jamie) lives with her little brother and older sister and both of her parents. Her mom works as a cook and waitress and her dad sells plastic things like cups and plates. She loves to play basketball, her toughest subject is History and she loves to eat pizza and apples. Her favorite place in Guatemala is Antigua (totally get that!) and in the future she would like to visit Puerto Rico because of the beaches. She wants to graduate as a billingual secretary and then go to university to become a doctor. Eimy really dislikes vegetables, and, well, I can’t really argue with that.
Luis lives with his younger brother and both of his parents. His dad is a mechanic and his mom works in a restaurant. He loves to learn English and Math and to play football and basketbal. His wants to visit Brazil or Argentina one day to meet Messi and to see all the greatest football players in the world. He likes to play with his cousins, who have a Playstation. His favorite place in Guatemala is the Castillo de San Felipe at the Izabal Lake and the Rio Dulce. He also wants to become a doctor, but first he needs to get a diploma as a mechanic. He loves all unhealthy food and apples.
It was a privilege to meet them and to let them know that they are our children now, my brother and my sister. And OUR children are full of life, dreams, happiness, joy and love. And I can’t wait to see the future God has in mind for them.
A month ago I wrote a blog about the encounter with another child with a Dutch sponsor. Here’s what I wrote about how I think about childsponsorhip then and now:
“When you travel with a group of sponsors, you will – of course – meet a lot of sponsor kids. But the one meeting that I can remember vividly is the one with Kimberly, a 15 or 16 year old beautiful young woman. She is sponsored by a great couple that travelled all the way across the ocean to see her. I got to photograph their encounter and when they started talking, Kimberly mentioned that she would really like to study some more and go to university. When her sponsors told her they would continue to sponsor her for as long as she needed, the girl broke. I could see the happiness in her dark, brown eyes and also a great relief, because she didn’t have to worry about her future anymore. She could become whatever she wanted. My family and I’ve had sponsor kids ever since I was born. George in Kenya, Loudemie in Haiti, Emely in Peru, Gicel in Mexico and Senait in Ethiopia. All of them are having a bright future ahead because we were so blessed to be their (correspondent) sponsor. But I never realised what it meant to a kid to sponsor him or her. Now I know. You are giving them the possibility to dream. I always think about what my biggest dream was for a very long time: moving to Guatemala. Would I be able to do that without any education? No. I would probably not even know how to travel or how to speak English and I would probably not even know where Guatemala is or that it even existed. I always liked to go to school, because I knew that the more I learned, the more possibilities I would have to make my dreams come true in the future. That’s why I think sponsoring a child is one of the greatest thing a human being can do. You are giving them hope and you take away their fear of never reaching their goals. Kimberly doesn’t have to be scared anymore. Her dreams will one day turn into reality.” (Signs of Faith, June 29)
I want to spend more time raising awareness of childsponsorship and especially here in Guatemala. That’s why I started a new section on my blog called ‘Change the Future‘, so I can share the letters I receive from all over the world and to share the stories I hear here in Guatemala. Go and take a look!