This year, everything came together for Naomi to personally visit Emebet and I was excited to be able to tell Naomi that we would even be visiting Emebet's home!
Naomi spent time before the trip partnering with others within our travel team to put together an excellent teaching program for the kids about creation!! Naomi's steady, calm presence and outstanding interaction with the kids made her an asset to our team!! A Guest Post from Naomi ...
From Naomi: Little did I know that when I visited Ethiopia, I would not only get to meet my sponsor child, Emebet, I would also get to meet her family and visit them at their home. Many of my letters from Emebet ended with the question, "When will you come visit?" and the simple question of a child who had no concept of the geography separating us or what a trip like that involved was both sweet and haunting.
Despite having seen many pictures from other years, I had to have help finding her the first day at Kind Hearts, standing in a row of other girls her age all with braided hair and dressed in their matching school uniforms. I could only keep her straight by looking for her sparkly red hair barrette. We sat together to play skipping games in the school yard and then I lost track of where she was while we ate lunch.
We rode the bus over to the neighborhood where she lived - quite a drive, considering she and other children walk the distance, almost an hour's walk, every day with flimsy shoes. The house was a rectangular mud structure, like many others in the neighborhood, with a corrugated tin roof and two yellow water containers perched in one of the small windows.
The family was waiting for us and we were greeted and seated on low mud benches covered with tarps. I was struck by how neat the room was - newspapers had carefully been plastered over every inch of the walls and tarps laid over the mud floors.
They offered to feed us lunch (which we politely declined) - stunning hospitality when you realize they live on the equivalent of around $10 a month and about half of that goes to rent. The translators introduced Emebet's father and stepmother and two siblings that were at the house and we chatted a bit about the family, his job as a day laborer and Emebet's school progress.
Emebet was very shy, but came to sit next to me when invited and softly whispered that her favorite subject was math when asked. As the youngest child, I suppose she isn't used to being the center of attention.
I left wondering what the future holds for Emebet. She is nine and in our country, girls her age have almost another nine more years in the school system before "growing up", but she might have another three or so more years in school at Kind Hearts. She is bright and has a school and family who are supportive, which gives her a better chance than many girls in her culture.
I loved being able to give Emebet the care package I had made and the sweet hug she gave me when I read her my note. She carried her little bag around with her the rest of the day and the toy stuffed kitten I almost didn't pack, thinking it might be too childish, was a cherished possession.
Her life is so different than mine simply because of where she was born, and yet we were able to share this special connection through sponsorship. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet her in person.
If YOU are interested in sponsoring a child, we just enrolled 96 new children at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory care-points and about 30 of those children still need a sponsor family. Sponsorship is $34 per month and provides nutritious food, clean water, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship for that child. We have volunteer teams that visit and work with the kids each year, and you and your child can write letters during the year! Contact me at email@example.com to be matched with a child!