I've just come from a multi-thousand dollar grand tour of China, where I stayed in 5 star hotels and had people catering to my every whim. So I'm feeling somewhat guilty reading the Compassion web site this week...and I'm encouraging you to read some of these links too.
There is a group of Compassion sponsors who are currently touring the Philippines, and since my little Fred is in the Philippines, I am eager to learn about his life. I have not written to him since we have been home and I'm trying to figure out how to tell him about our trip without soundling like I'm flaunting our non-existent wealth. I am humbled by the reports coming in from the Compassion volunteers.
One entry that was made yesterday was one that everyone who has considered sponsoring a child should read. Like many of you have expressed, I am always skeptical of organizations like Compassion and wonder how much of my money really goes to the children and how much of it lines the purse of the workers in the countries.
This entry, by Shaun should help to answer any questions. He went cold into an office, did a search on the funds raised for a child chosen at random and what he discovered will inspire you with the conspicuous attention to detail for every one of the children served. I was impressed, and reassured.
Yesterday, the group met with their sponsored children and had a day of play. Today they visited the homes. What they found will tear your heart out...and will also again inspire you with what compassion is doing for children in poverty--and how parents cope with poverty. They visited a woman named Rose Ann, a woman whose home is smaller than half the size of the bathroom of one of the writers. It is the home of four people. Rose has a beautiful smile, is scrupulously clean and her home is neat and tidy.
You have to see it.
Patricia wrote about compassion's Child Survival Program where one does not sponsor a child but contributes $20 a month to a general fund to help pregnant mothers and follow them through the first year of their baby's life, with medical care, vaccinations, nutrition assistance, etc. Patricia wrote that many mothers in some parts of the world do not even give babies a name for the first year and are reluctant to bond with them because so many of them do not survive to their first birthday. With Compassion they have a better chance.
Lindsey also wrote about the Child Survival Program. She herself is 30 weeks pregnant and could identify with the women in the program. As she describes the program, everything from prenatal care to teaching the women how to play with their children to helping them start small businesses to help bring income to their families, she reports that "The children we observed were thriving. They were healthy and happy. They snuggled with their mommies. They delighted in doodling and coloring. Thankfulness abounds on these mothers faces. Just to have a little support, to be a recipient of love extended, to be taught and have the ability to learn. They are simple gifts. Simple needs."
Stephanie visited the home of her sponsored child. "This is an ugly place," she writes of the neighborhood, saying that the photographs make it look better than it really is. She also writes, "I won’t gloss over it and pretend that because he is a sponsored child, their life has become rosy. It hasn’t and it won't anytime soon. Theirs is a struggle that is long and deep and hard. There are no quick fixes, no simple solutions."
"There's so much that they don't have, but here’s what I realized today that they do have...
Hope they didn't know before."
Tsh also wrote about a visit to the home of her sponsored child. She talked about how her family of five share a 1100 sq foot home and how they feel scrunched and are looking forward to moving to a larger house. She compared that with her sponsored child's home, one room 8x8 square, shared by the five people in the child's family in this neighborhood:
The Compassion bloggers' reports have a huge impact and help me see the world of little Fred and make me realize that what little we do through our monthly contributions, letters and photographs make a difference. A small difference, but when the child lives in such abject poverty, small differences can be huge.
The trip continues until June 4 and there is a link to all the bloggers' entries in the right hand column here. I encourage you to follow along with me and to take the challenge that one of the writers issued. Look at the faces of the >900 children in the Philippines waiting for sponsors and see if any of them touch your heart.