Today was a day to catch up on correspondence.
For one thing, when I went to that performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, they had two kinds of programs--a mimeographed one for kids and a "real" one for adults. I picked up two of the kids' programs and sent a letter to the girls, enclosing two copies of the program.
I told them about the play and how it was done, about the hand made backdrops projected on the back wall, and on how two players played all the parts. It was kind of fun to share the experience with them.
After that, I decided to plough through my Compassion correspondence.
About once a month, I write a generic letter, with photos, and send it off to all of the 29 kids that I write to. Compassion has the option of sending things by mail, or sending by email using one of their 35 specially designed stationery sheets. Examples--
When individual replies come in from the kids, then, I write personal letters, answering what they have to say in their letters. There are an awful lot of "I am fine, how are you" type letters (only with more religious overtones). But some of the kids have become pretty good writers. For the little guys, who can't write letters yet, they have form type letters, with a series of fill in the blank questions about things like "my family" or "my hobbies" or "my hopes for the future."
I decided this month they must be doing something new in their curriculum in Kenya because I received two of the "dreams" forms and both of the kids, a boy and a girl, both around 7, told me that they want to learn to drive a car and to fly a plane. The boy wants to be a pilot. In all the years I have been doing this, nobody has expressed interest in cars or planes, though I admit that I get an awful lot of pictures drawn, especially of trucks and helicopters.
Perhaps one of my best writers is Erick, from Kenya. He is 17 and I've been sponsoring him for about 5 years. In the beginning he used to draw me beautiful pictures of animals, but for some reason he stopped doing that when I complimented him and told him how much I love them! I wrote to him today about the death of Dame Daphne Sheldrick and wonder if he has heard of her. I have asked him about elephants in the past, but he has never responded. He also told me that he has joined a football team and hopes to get into the championship games, and he is happy because the recent contentious Kenya elections went well and "we are having peace in our minds because the elections were peaceful." He is also perhaps the most religious and the most serious of all my group. He told me today that "I am really working hard to make it in life. Every day is a struggle and every life is a struggle but we must fight to make it in life."
Miché from Haiti is now 15 and in the 8th grade. He told me that they are getting ready to celebrate Flag Day in his country and wanted to know if we celebrate flag day here. He is still writing to me about Christmas, 4 months later. I think this is the 3rd time he has written about his Christmas. Must have been very special!
Divine is a teenager from Uganda. I wrote to her about the poem Brianna wrote and sent her a .jpg of the text. I also told her about some of my "sparks of happiness" and asked what hers was. I told her about working puzzles with my mother and sent her a photo of my mother working a puzzle.
Theresa, from Ghana, is my "sad girl." I chose her about 3 years ago because she was perhaps the saddest child I had ever seen. We get periodic updated photos of the kids and I have yet to see her smile, though I always comment on how special her photo is and how much I would love to see her smile. I try to do a lot of encouragement and show her a lot of love and I told her, too, about Brianna's poem and talked about "sparks of happiness." I somehow don't think this little girl has many sparks of happiness in her life.
Luis Henrique from Brasil wrote perhaps the shortest letter, but he was telling me about his recent travel to the beach in Icapui. I had to smile, having hosted so many Brasilians and knowing their love of beaches. He even drew me a picture of the beach with people standing along the edge of the water.
Rifaldi, 12, from Indonesia is also a good letter writer and the only one of the kids who calls me "grandma." (Fred from the Philippines calls me Auntie Sykes and Annie Rose, also from the Philippines calls me Auntie Beverly Sykes.) Rifaldi me about a photo of pumpkins I sent to him and said that the farmers in his area are planting pumpkins now.
There were a few more letters that I wrote to the kids and probably a week or so, I will write a group letter to all 29 of them.