By Alison Klassen
“Will I recognize him?”
“Will he be happy to see me?”
“Will I be able to contain my emotions?”
Questions raced through my mind as we got closer to the remote family farm. I was about to meet my sponsored child!! I was honoured that we were able to visit the family in their own home.
We pulled into the yard and saw kids from the neighbourhood gathered along the property line. They all wanted to catch a glimpse of the mzungu (foreign) visitors.
Eight year-old Elias was brought to the Land Cruiser to meet me as I got out.
“He’s so tall! I hope the clothes fit,” was my first thought.
Suddenly all my fears dissolved: I recognized him; he was happy to see me, although he was very timid; and I was far too full of joy to waste time crying. What a beautiful boy!!
We moved around the house to sit in a shady spot. A blanket was spread out for the kids to sit on, and I joined Elias on the ground.
“Do you have a backpack for school?” I asked Elias through the translator. He shook his head, no.
I asked this for a reason. My youngest son, who has corresponded with Elias, helped me pack gifts for the family into a backpack. There is a Canada Flag wind sock for Elias’ father, a jar of Saskatoon berry syrup from my home town for his mom, and some clothes for all four of the boys- including a Canada t-shirt for Elias!.
Elias whispered his communication to Bertha or Emanuel, the translators. He would like to be a teacher in his own community when he grows up, he said. I’m so proud of him!
Elias held my hand as we went for a tour around their yard. Two new toilets were are being built, and the concrete tank for sewage is complete. We walked past the field and garden where, with agricultural training, the family is now producing enough corn and beans in the growing season to sell at market. Elias’ mom, Agnes, hopes to get drip irrigation in the future so she can grow vegetables year round.
Agnes invited us to sit and wash our hands from a basin. They served us groundnuts as we spoke through the translator. Agnes and I connected right away as we discussed how we both have four kids. It felt so good to have that in common with the mom of my sponsored child.
As our time came to an end, Agnes came out of her house carrying a cooking bowl. She presented it to me as a gift and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. This warm family has shown me such welcome, and given me a wonderful example of how World Vision Canada is helping farmers become self-supporting.
After hugs all around, we loaded the Land Cruiser and waved until they were out of sight. My heart was full to overflowing that day!