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My Compassion trip to Kenya!

What is Compassion?

Compassion is a child-advocacy organization that matches those who are suffering from poverty with compassionate people who can help. The goal is for each child to become a responsible adult.

What is Child Sponsorship?

Child sponsorship connects one child with one sponsor, strategically chipping away at child poverty. Did you know more than a billion children live on less than $2 per day?!

My beautiful friend, Katie, sponsors Silas through Compassion!

My beautiful friend, Katie, sponsors Silas through Compassion!

How Does Child Sponsorship Work?

Through monthly financial support and letter writing, sponsors invest directly in the lives of children living in extreme poverty.

The children attend church-based child development centers where they receive life-changing opportunities that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Child sponsorship offers:

  • ongoing Christian training
  • educational opportunities
  • life skills and vocational training.
  • health care to prevent and fight disease.
  • nutritious food to protect against malnutrition.
  • recreation to develop self-confidence and social skills.
  • protection from crime and violence
  • access  to special services (i.e. surgery and disaster relief)
  • mentoring.

My Story

My family sponsors three beautiful children through Compassion.

My awesome family!

My awesome family!

  • Elsie (14 years old) from Nakuru, Kenya (see plenty of pics below!)
  • Nadin (6 years old) from Malang, Indonesia
  • Moses (5 years old) from Kima, Kenya

In 2009,  I was able to see firsthand the integrity and effectiveness of the Compassion organization. I had the unique opportunity to visit Elsie’s child development center in Nakuru, Kenya. Better yet, I got to meet and spend time with Elsie! She is truly amazing. See for yourselves

This is Elsie!elsie

 

She loves jumprope and taking selfies on my phone. When she grows up, she wants to “build roads so people can walk or ride bikes safely to school.” Here’s a recording of her reciting John 3:16 when she was playing on my cell.

Listen to Elsie!

 

Look how dressed up the family got for my visit! How precious are they? Her grandparents are raising her because her mom left her at 3 mo. & never came back. Thankful for good grandparents!

Elsie's grandparents who take care of her!

Elsie’s grandparents who take care of her!

Elsie’s community benefits from the child development center in many ways. A water well has been dug in their community! Families are able to drink clean, healthy water for the first time in their lives! A real bathroom has been built, providing sinks and toilets, and dramatically reducing illnesses that we don’t even have to worry about here! Children have been taught proper hygiene techniques such as hand washing and how to brush their teeth. For. the. first. time.

If you’re wondering if Compassion REALLY does all they say they do…allow me to provide some first-hand insight!

  • ongoing Christian training

Um, yeah. So these kids could school my pastor, who has a doctorate degree and reads the Bible in Greek for fun. I call him Obi-wan.

Obi-wan and Abigail

Obi-wan and Abigail

I got to sit in on one of their Bible lessons. I was expecting “Noah he built him an arkee arkee arkee….,” but was astounded by the Biblical insight and accurate theology these kids were learning. They didn’t need flashy costumed characters and high tech graphics to dig deep into God’s Word. They sat eagerly on hard chairs and benches with nothing but their Bibles and their teacher. They asked insightful questions, listened to the teacher respectfully, and didn’t act up. At all.

  • educational opportunities

I get letters from Elsie nearly every month. She speaks and writes English perfectly, in addition to Kaswahili. Let’s just say her grammar and vocabulary puts mine to shame. All this with access to only two books. One Bible, and a storybook that is tattered and falling apart. Yeah, I’d say she’s literate.

  • key life skills and vocational training

I met women at the Compassion center who had received training to make beautiful purses! These were not just crappy purses that fall apart after you shoved a few too many lipsticks and receipts in them. They were quality, leather handbags that would make Kate Spade jealous. So the women can now support their families based on their own efforts.

  • health care to prevent and fight disease

While we were in Nakuru, we got to see this in action. Each child was evaluated and treated by a medical doctor. A few children received treatment for chronic diarrhea, and many were given a clean bill of health!

dr-at-compassion

  • nutritious food

Kids lined up hungrily for their more than ample serving of lunch. For many kids, it is the only meal they receive that day. They gobbled up their nutritious food and were so cute and so grateful for what to me looked like slimy oatmeal.

  • recreational activities to development self-confidence and social skills

Yeah, I played some soccer. I mean, football, with the boys. Nevermind that the ball was a bit flat. It was ON! They kicked my butt, but it was such fun! Dang. No pictures.

  • protection from crime and violence

The Compassion child development center was a happy, safe place. The surrounding areas…not so much. More on that below. But here, children are able to play, learn and receive care free from the dangers of the urban slums.

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  • access to special services

I didn’t see this while I was there, but I did get to peek into some of the children’s files. Excruciatingly detailed, every dollar and penny spent was accounted for. And special services given were written down in detail. My friend Michelle’s kid, had received prescriptions for simultaneous malaria and pneumonia. A copy of the prescription and a copy of the health clinic voucher was included.

  • mentoring 

This is one of those things that is hard to pinpoint on a trip like this. But I witnessed the way the teachers poured their hearts into each child. You could ask any of the teachers about one of their specific children, and they knew details about home life, health and educational needs. It was evidence that they were part of their lives.

BUT…

While I was there, I also saw things I wish I had never seen. Abandoned, hungry children, extreme poverty, and unthinkable living conditions. This is a little boy I found wandering around alone, shoeless, and filthy.

little-boy-in-kenya

It’s common for kids this age and younger to spend the entire day alone in their villages. Without grownups. They wander around aimlessly thru trash & stagnant water. I saw cows running toward them, and the toddlers running away in fear.

I wonder how they don’t get lost? They have torn, filthy clothes. No shoes, maybe one broken shoe like this lil guy, smell like urine (imagine the worst men’s bathroom ever x30), green crusted boogers on their noses & eyes. Moms have to work for food, so they leave the children unattended for the day. Sadly, dads were a rarity in the homes. Knowing these are the developmental years of a child’s life, and that no one is even talking to them during the day breaks my heart to the core. There was one boy I saw carrying filthy water in a jug. He may have been 3.

But in this darkness, there is a glimmer of hope! Compassion child development centers and sponsors are making a difference not only to individuals, but to families and communities as well. There are a lot of kids who still need to be sponsored. If you are interested, you can check out this link!

Some more random stuff

Elsie selfies. Don’t worry. I hv PLENTY more.

4 of Elsie's 93 gazillion selfies on my phone!

4 of Elsie’s 93 gazillion selfies on my phone!

My parents sponsor several children as well. This is John. He lived near Elsie, so I got to meet him and take him this ugly t.u.  hat. Against my better judgment, I taught John this… #12thmanfail —!
kenya-longhorns

For security reasons, the team I traveled with stayed in a nearby hotel. I felt so guilty knowing I had a bed, a roof and a bathroom while they slept on the dirt floor and peed outside. Ugh. But anyhoo, there was this doorman…kenya-mr-rogers

This is the tallest man I have ever seen. He was so kind. He even let me take my picture with him. His name is …Mr. Rogers! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

 

 

 

Btw, what the heck is this?! It proved to be a bit of a challenge for me. My darling friends took a picture of the trickle down my pants. I won’t post that. .

kenya-potty

Worth it. ❤Elsie❤

If you are interested in sponsoring a child like through Compassion, click below!

Check out Compassion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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