Thursday, February 8, 2007

To Colombia…And Beyond

Well, the Children International team is back from Colombia after 10 action-packed days on the ground. I hope you enjoyed tagging along with them as they visited sponsored children and reported on the difference your support is making in Barranquilla and Cartagena.

If this is your first time visiting our blog, please check out the posts below and in the archive to read about what the team saw and experienced in Colombia.

Our Children International team for Colombia included Jennifer, Scott, Andrea, Erin and David. They’ll be sharing more photos and experiences from their trip in the near future. For now, though, I asked each of them to summarize the trip in a few words…

Erin: “What stood out the most during our trip to Colombia is the dedication of the local agency staff. When we visited sponsored communities, smiles, handshakes and hugs were frequently exchanged between the families in our program and Children International employees. It was obvious to me that working for Children International is much more than just a job for our local colleagues - just as it is for me.”

Jennifer: “My Spanish is sketchy at best. Simple phrases and lots of gestures generally convey my message. However with Maria, language was no barrier with us becoming fast friends. I’ll always remember her sweet smile and kind eyes as she plopped herself down next to me on a step and stuck by my side for the afternoon. With only her grandmother to watch over her as she grows, I’m excited for the opportunities sponsorship will offer her and all that she will achieve in the future. Children like Maria are why I work for Children International.”

David: “I saw that Children International really does bring out the very best in the volunteer mothers and the youth…the workshops give them a sense of self-worth and give them the power to help their own communities.”

Scott: "In Chubal, a dusty, isolated slum outside of Barranquilla, I was overwhelmed with the reaction our agency van elicited from the children. As we pulled off the highway and into the powder-fine dirt, a large group charged toward us, screaming and leaping into the air, their smiles an irresistible welcome mat. Our driver, Victor, said this is a common reaction because families think of our staff as their friends.”

Andrea: “I am always struck by the inner strength mothers have in dire and uncertain circumstances. They bear a heavy load, yet put on a brave face for their children and do the very best they can with practically nothing. They often lean on their faith and the hope that their children will have better lives. Sponsorship gives them hope.

And of course I still love the fact that no matter where I go, children are children and can find delight in the smallest of things…like looking at a tiny digital image of themselves on the back of my camera.”

What’s next?
We really hope you have enjoyed the posts and photos from our team’s Colombia trip. In just a couple of weeks we’ll have another team on the ground, this time in Honduras. We’d like to hear from you – what types of things would you like us to update you on while we’re there? Please drop us a comment or an email and let us know!


Anonymous said...

Thank you all so much for this blog. My sponsored child if Dayanis Rodriguez of Barranquilla. I am so excited to get any bit of news from there and to imagine her there and benefitting from your services. I have been to Colombia, but not that region. I dream of going back one day and meeting her family. My husband is from Colombia, and we help support many family members there...especially all of his neices and nephews! If it weren't for this commitment, I am sure I would have many more CI children. Thanks for all you do in Colombia and around the world!

Francesca said...

Helo! I would like express my heartfelt gratitude and praise to you all and the other staff of CI. What you do is truly wonderful. We sponsors make a difference by our sponsorships but you, the staff, the volunteers, the field supervisiors, etc - you do everything. We have the easy part of sponsoring - you guys are our arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth and everything. Thank you!
I have a sponsored child at Cartagena. Her name is Laura and last name is Guerra. Please give her my love when you see her. SHe is such a darling. I love receiving letter and drawings from her and my other sponsored child. Please let her know that I think of her always and include her my prayers all the time.
I wish I could visit my sponsored children. Alas, we cannot afford to travel at the moment - and probably won't be able to for a loooong time.
THank you again and more power and success to CI!

Snow White said...

It was wonderful to hear first hand experience from the field. I have a wonderful boy named Danilo from Barranquilla and am always eager to learn more about his life and what its like in Colombia. While I've never been there, certainly hope to go someday to visit him. Thank you so much for bringing him closer to my home.

Maria said...

If you come across our sponsored child Elorida Sucely Figueroa Marroquin in Rural Guatemala, please give her a big hug from us in the UK!!


Jennifer said...

Hey Maria! Thanks for your comment. We haven't been to Guatemala in awhile, but we'll post it here on the blog if we travel there again anytime soon.

Thanks for your support :)