Friday, April 27, 2007

“She’s in my heart.”

Leah Donahue is no stranger to poverty. Having worked at Children International for over 3 years, she has seen the photos, watched the videos and heard countless stories about visits to the field. But nothing could prepare her for what she witnessed on her first trip to Ecuador last week.

“I’ve seen the pictures of dirt floors and tiny shacks, but I had no idea it was really that bad. You really have to be there and see it for yourself.” Leah said tearfully. “There is no way to prepare yourself for what you’ll see. Words cannot describe it.”

Overwhelmed at what she witnessed in the field, the experience was also a joyful one for Leah when she had the opportunity to visit one of her sponsored children, 5 year-old Mileidy of Guayaquil.

“I spotted her immediately at the center! She was sitting there with her mom, Martha.”

Smiling through tear-filled eyes, Leah remembers the visit enthusiastically. “I was able to spend about 45 minutes with them. My children and I had picked out gifts for Mileidy. She was shy and quiet as I gave her the coloring books and stuff, but I really connected with her mom, and eventually Mileidy, as we sat and colored together.

“I hope to bring my children to visit someday. This was such a life-changing experience. I look at everything much differently now. I see the difference in children who are sponsored and having met her deepened my commitment to her.”

With the memories of her trip fresh and at the surface, Leah is even more committed to the mission of Children International. “What we do makes me so proud to come to work everyday.”

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