The photo above is of Yamileisy and Jose Manuel's house. On my return trip I was able to see firsthand the new bathroom extension on the tiny house. They have running water, a toilet AND a shower now. It was amazing to see it.
I'm excited to hear from my girls. After seeing 3 of them I couldn't choose 2 so I took all 3. To the right is Kate and Joan. Kate is the young lady who helps children find sponsors. She was in Uganda last summer. Here are the photos she sent me and a little about the girls.
In this first picture there is Nadudu Emmima in the front row in the torn blue dress. She has just recently joined the school and was a former street child who has had a little school, which has been off and on. Despite this, she is a very bright girl and is in P.1. Her ambition is to become a doctor and her favorite hobbies include running and singing.
Nabiryo Sharon is on the left. She is in P.2 and is 9 years old. Her ambition is to become a doctor when she's older. She loves to play with dolls and make people laugh.
Nakafero Joan is full of smiles. She is listed as 6 and in P.1, where she enjoys learning. Her ambition is to become an engineer. Her favorite activity is to play hide and seek.
As for Sharon and Joan, I met both girls while I was in Uganda this past June. They are incredibly sweet and loving despite the harships they face. Both girls are very poor, and I remember learning that Joan gets sick often. She has a younger sister at the school, who she is so patient with. When it is time to wash and eat, Joan is always at her sister's side washing and feeding her. Sharon is a doll, who has an infectious laugh! She really craved attention and I would just have her sit on my lap during church and hold her hands. Despite living with her parents(father is off and on) they neglect her, which is very obvious. She has been forced to grow up far too fast, and it is a blessing that you have decided to sponsor her! I know that when she starts receiving letters from you, she will be thrilled. "
This amazing young lady, Kate, is dedicated to finding these children a sponsor. She spent some time there recently and hopes to go back next summer for 2 months. She is only 18 years old! She writes a blog all about the school and the projects going on. She does fundraisers to earn money for her next trip. How I would love to join her in Uganda someday.
The CUS school is on a much smaller scale than Children International. There are approximately 300 children in this school in the mountains. Our dollar goes a long way if all of them are sponsored. Many of the CI google group that I belong to are sponsoring some of these children. After putting them on a website they were sponsored fast. That is why I'm waiting for the new list and pictures of the groups of un-sponsored children. They will have a short bio for each child.
I have decided to sponsor 2 girls in Uganda through a different organization, Christian Upliftment School or CUS. There are 300 children of families who left their homes due to conflict in their country. They are refugees. Many of them have only one parent or are orphans. Many are treated badly at home and sometimes the only food they get is at school. Look at the picture above, aren't they all adorable? These children have sponsors but a new list is coming. Their smiles are abundant and their stories sadden me. Check out the website. http://www.christianupliftmentschool.com/
"The school is located in an area which many people from Northern Uganda have settled. They have fled their homes due to the civil war that has been going on for more than 20 years. Although there has been progress towards peace in Northern Uganda, many have nothing to return to.Once farmers, most of the families of children that attend CU school now work in the stone quarry. They break rocks into tinier pieces all day long, earning a little less than $1. This causes many parents to not send their children to school (they can't afford to pay the school fee or buy their child a uniform). This is why child sponsorship is our most important program today. Without it, many children would be denied an education simply because their parents are too poor to afford it."
For only $35 a year (approximately 10 cents a day) they get to go to school with a uniform, school supplies and they get to eat at least 2 meals a day while they are there.
When I pick out my girls I will post it here. I'm so excited because they speak and write English and you get as many letters back as you write to them and 3 photos a year. I've read letters that other sponsors have gotten from their children and they are amazing. It warms your heart to read them. They are so grateful for our help.
I finally got the right information on Jose Joel. I called CI asked to sponsor him and he was signed up. I'm wondering if they told him who his sponsor was, since we did meet and spend a day together already. I'm wondering because I sense it in his smile. His father, Joel, was a CI sponsored child also. He is a mechanic and his wife Wendy stays at home with their 3 year old son, Elias, Waidy, 9 and Joelito, 11. They were only 16 & 18 when they had Joelito.
If Jen and I can help this family together maybe it will break the cycle of poverty. They seem to be a very close bonded family. Joel speaks a little English. I can't wait to visit them again. By choosing the same country for all my sponsored children it makes it more possible to visit all of them. Even though its hard to pass up those sweet faces in other countries, I know I wouldn't be able to go to some of the others. So there are plenty of children in need in the Dominican Republic. So come one, come all.....sponsor a child in the DR and we can visit them together.
I've anxiously been waiting for my info packet on my new child, Jose Joel, the sibling to my daughter's Waidy. I was so excited when I saw the CI envelope yesterday that I couldn't wait to get home from the Post Office to open it. Much to my surprise the letter was to thank me for sponsoring Jose Joel, but the photo and family record was that of my already sponsored child, Jose Manuel, in the same country but different area. I was so bummed as I already started a letter and welcoming package for him. I called CI and they worked out the mistake so I should get my info in 7-10 days. Another long wait but I guess I'll make it. In the meantime I have 2 letters to answer so that is good.
Yesterday I was feeling a little down and I had errands to run. At the end of the day around 5:00 I was heading home and didn't want to detour to the post office for the mail. I just wanted to go home. Well, I just had a feeling. I thought I might get an envelope with the CI insgnia on it for something. I've been waiting to get the info on my new child, Joelito and Yami's birthday photos. So I took the post office route. I'm so glad I did. All these pictures put a smile on my face. And the letters to go with them. They are sunshine in my life.
So now I still look forward to Joelito and Yami's birthday photos. Yami's package was sent before this small one for Jose (in the same household). Hmmmm and her birthday was Aug. 15th. I'll try to be patient.
These are the clothes they received. When I sent the money for the bathroom I suggested they use the remainder for whatever they might need as a family. So it seems as though everyone got something. I'm glad for that.
I'm so excited that the family received the materials for their new bathroom, What a difference it will make. Something so simple yet so needed! I can't wait to see the finished project. Yamileisy's letter says;
My Dear Darleny;
Hello, I am very happy because you are thinking about me and my family. Thanks for the donation. We received; clothes, shoes, 1 Poloshirt (for dad) 2 blouses (for mom) 2 pair pants (Yami) 1 toy, construction materials; concrete blocks, pipes, cement, sink, toilet, etc. With love, Yamileisy
I really wish they didn't have to take up so much precious room listing everything. The photos are enough proof. I'd rather hear all about them, as many have mentioned before.
Just the other day I was telling an aquaintance about my CI kids and getting them a bathroom. He is a foster parent so I thought he'd be interested in my story. I told him about my upcoming fundraiser for the family's Income Generating Project. He then gave me $10 to put towards it. I was so grateful. I came home and put it into my FirstGiving page (even though it isn't up to my number yet). I love my CI kids and talking about them to whoever will listen. I try to carry my trip photos and SNG photos with me so that they know how real it is!
Last week I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted to go back to work. Its a small "Mom n Pop" type place and I could choose my days and hours! What a blessing. I am now working 3 days a week, with the weekends off. So I am really pleased that I will have extra money to help the 4 kids that I sponsor.
This is a very small community and I know so many people. Now that I'm out in the public again I have more people to share my pictures and stories about my CI trip to the Dominican. One friend said she always thought of sponsoring but she didn't think it was legit. Well, she believes it now. The photos of me and my kids really tells the story better. It makes it real! I carry photos in my purse or car all the time for proof of how much I am helping a child in need. After 14 years of sponsorship I'm so glad I was able to visit. It became a bigger reality to me. It made me more involved than ever.
So this job is a blessing at the right time. Hopefully I can get some sponsors for other children of poverty!
Well, I got a letter from CI yesterday and with my birthday donation Yamileisy got a new pair of black shoes and socks. Of course she still has her package coming. I sent 2 blouses along with other frivilous things. Did I mention that I made a puzzle out of a photo of her and I together. I think she will really like that. I think I will make a puzzle for each of my kids. I also went to an online toymaker site to make paper things to send in regular letters (I always send my letters in a manila envelope along with stickers and paper products.) I printed some cute cutout boxes with a design on them with heavy paper. I cut it out, made the box and it fit the puzzle perfectly!! On the front I put a little sticker of the photo of the puzzle. Its a simple 30 piece puzzle but something different for them. They have lots of things to print, paper dolls, etc.
I've ordered shirts and pants for Jose Manuel's birthday in November. One came in yesterday. A really nice blue one for $5. Blue is his favorite color (mine too!) Being that it is hot there all the time I can get summer clearance items here for a good price. For less than $30 I got him 3 shirts, 1 pr. short pants, 1 pr. long pants. He loves Sponge Bob and the Power Rangers. I got a new Power Ranger watch for $5 and a Power Ranger baseball cap for $6 on ebay and some Sponge Bob items. And books! I try to send Spanish story books each time. I want to encourage reading. The Spanish version of "Dr. Suess" books are great. I love those books. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax
These kids have become so special to me. I hope we have a lasting bond for many years to come.
Yamileisy's birthday is on August 15th. I so hope that her package is there for her by then. I sent it about the middle of June. I can't wait for pictures. The process is so long sometimes. But having 4 children now I will be getting more letters and pictures more often. I love getting them. They always put a smile on my face. You become such an important person in their lives. They know someone cares for them. I always encourage school and my $22 a month gets them there! I will share my photos when they come in. Until another day......
I'm anxiously waiting to get my packet for Joelito. Its been awhile and I've already started a letter to him and printed some picture pages. I decided on printing photo album pages, then I will send him a binder type photo album for full sheets. I'll put them in page protectors (acid free, of course). Its really easy to write to him since I have already met him so I somewhat know his personality. I let him use my camera and he took pictures of everybody.
Their house is made of wood (you can see light through the walls) but it is very well kept. They do have electricity and running water in the home. The area between the homes, not really a street to drive on, is concrete so it has a much cleaner look. I think the whole neighborhood swept before our visit. His house is at the end of the walkway. They all want to see the people that came thousands of miles to see a child. Its a big deal to all. Of course we were so glad to have gifts for all the children around us. It was a great feeling!
I received a letter yesterday from Jose. Yamileisy wrote it as he is too young yet. She answered every question. When I decided to sponsor Jose, I immediately put together a small welcome package. I made a page size poster all boyish, with his picture in the middle and a special message to him and printed it on photo paper. I printed pictures of my trip there and he was in them (that way he would recognize ME, the one who visited, as his sponsor!) I made library labels for books that I would be sending him, stickers, etc. So when he got my first letter he already knew me. It was great to surprise them. I recently sent him some more books, BLUE t-shirt (my guess for color was right on!) and some small Power Ranger figures. He hasn't gotten them yet. I found the figures on Ebay and they are actually collectibles and from 1995 still in the package for $4.99! (Any collector would die to know that I threw away the new condition box and just sent the figures only to save space). To a little boy in the Dominican it doesn't matter that its a collectible or not! And to me it was worth it. He'll be happy with them. Here is his letter:
It was a surprise to know that you are sponsoring my brother. Thanks! He is in the first grade. He likes to go to school. He likes the books that you brought him. We loved your visit. We would like you to visit us again. My mother wants to meet you. Jose plays baseball with Victor. His favorite color is blue. With lots of affection,
Yamileisy and Jose Manuel, your sponsored children.
I brought a special silver locket with our pictures in it. I hope she keeps it forever. She loved getting it and wears it in all her photos now. She wants me to know how much it means to her. I thought it was a great idea to bring a girl! Oh how I could spoil her!
Glenn with an admirer in Santiago. She wanted her picture taken too!
Jen and I with the children in Santo Domingo .
Me, Jose Manuel and Yamileisy at the mall.
This is the inside of their house. Notice the little gas stove top on the table? (Her doll I brought her is on top of it in a basket) That is their cooking source and they do have a small fridge, no sinks! The house is about 8-10 feet wide. There were 11 of us in there to visit. There are no open windows, only corrugated tin in the openings and it WAS hot!
Just a note about the photo with the header title above. That's me in the foreground of Yamileisy and Jose Manuel's tiny block home in Santo Domingo. Notice the buckets on the side of the house? That's what they use to collect and carry their water from the community water source. Notice the hanging laundry? Think how difficult it would be to wash clothes, sheets, etc. in a bucket with the water that you had to carry all the way home. Do you realize how heavy a bucket of water is? I can't wait for them to get the running water and toilet they so desperately need. Their mother, Yocasta, works all day in a factory and their father, Victor, is a truck driver. I can only imagine how it will change their lives for the better. One child at a time...........I CAN make a difference.
This is the sweetest family ever! We had a wonderful day with them. The whole neighborhood greeted us. I think they all
cleaned the streets in front of their homes. They all loaned chairs so that we could all sit and watch the kids play. See Joelito in front of me? He told the driver that he wanted to walk with me and asked if it was alright. He really took to me and I to him. How could I NOT sponsor such a sweet child? That's mama, Wendy, in the middle,a very charming lady and a great daddy there too in Joel! Jen got the little guy, Elias, a toddler size Mr. Potato Head! He carried it everywhere and showed all his friends. He even took his mitt to pizza with us. A day I'll never forget. Those children touch my heart and give me a great feeling to know them. I hope it is a forever relationship.
I was pleased and surprised to be published on Children International's website. Cut and paste to read it.
My Lift One Sponsor Page
Check out my page....cut and paste
Just a thought to pass along
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." Helen Keller
I'm a married retired mother of three grown children, Chad 36, Jennifer 25, and Jedediah 22. We have been sponsoring children in the Dominican Republic for 14 years. We just returned in January 2009 from our first trip to visit our sponsored children, Yamileisy and Garis in Santo Domingo and Waidy in Santiago. It was an amazing trip that has inspired me to do more. I've since taken Yamileisy's little brother Jose Manuel as my sponsored child. To actually meet them was an incredible feeling and so hard to leave at the end of the day. I hope to go back very soon.