Brian pulled me away from the hand-clapping game I was playing with the children. “Jennifer, now we’re going to meet the child you sponsor. It’s Leuris, right? They call him Chino. I was in his classroom, and let me tell you that you’ll have your hands full. He’s cute, but wild.”
I walked in and he was sitting at a table with Augustin, the translator. I greeted him warmly and gave him the backpack that I had brought for him with some gifts. Before he could get distracted by the toys, I showed him the pocket photo album that I had brought with some pictures of the family. We named each of them: Terry, Kyle, Amanda, and even Shadow the dog. I made sure, per my husband’s request, that he fully appreciated the Aggie backpack that I packed his toys in (read more about the Aggie culture from this trip on my personal blog).
Then he unzipped the bag. I had brought him a football which he grabbed with glee, and a dominoes picture game, which he immediately wanted to free from his shrink wrap. When he saw the box of 24 crayons, he indicated that there were so many, and said that he could do his own pictures.
I left two children behind when I came on this trip. Tonight I’ll be reuniting with them, and I’ll be making sure that they know that there are two other children we are responsible for. We’ll be praying for Gloria in Uganda, who I sponsored through the first Compassion Bloggers’ trip, and of course Chino, who I recently sponsored and was able to meet this week.
When I left him I crouched down to his level, and I told him that I was very happy to have met him. I told him that I was looking forward to receiving his letters, and that I was going to write him letters. I told him that I’d be leaving the photos with him so that he’d remember our visit.
I know that everyone will not have the opportunity to meet their child (although if you are ever in the country, it can always be arranged through the Compassion office). However, you can definitely become a part of a child’s life — his memories and his success. I can’t wait to follow both Gloria and Chino as they grow physically, academically, spiritually, and socially.