Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Experience Beyond Belief...

Last week Clayton Yearns, a Children International staff member, visited our Guayaquil agency and met his own sponsored child, 5 year old Narcisa, for the first time. Here is what Clayton wrote as he recalled his special visit:

I just got done with my child visit, and it was an experience beyond belief!

I was afraid that a 5-year-old girl would be terrified of a stranger, but the visit started off with a great big hug and a card like she had known me for years. The card read (if I can read her writing) "te quiero y espero que te guste esta tarjeta que la hice con mucho cariƱo para usted" which means "I love you and I hope that you like this card that I made with much love for you." It also contained a drawing of Narcisa, my sponsored child, with a great big smile.

I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful she and her family were that I almost forgot that I had brought them any gifts. I handed dolls to Narcisa and her sister, Kayla, along with colored pencils and paper, and gave their mother towels and washcloths.

As expected I was in awe without questions to ask, but I managed to finally start asking questions as well as telling her much about me and my life. I found out that Narcisa is already in the 1st grade because she was too advanced for Kindergarten. She remembered from my first letter that I had cats and wanted to know more about them. I also showed her pictures of Mickey, my dog, but I guess she is more of a kitty person, as she talked about her cat a lot.

I told them that I had their letters and pictures on my fridge at home; I have more pictures of her than I do of my own family! And I wanted her to know that I felt bad for not writing enough, but now that the family was "real" to me I would be sure to write on a more regular basis.

Narcisa and Kayla drew pictures for me, and Narcisa insisted that I draw a picture, too. I forewarned her that I could not draw but I drew her and me anyway with a note that read "I'm sorry I can't draw and I'm sorry that I don't speak Spanish."

"I don't understand anything he is saying," she spoke lightly in Spanish to her mother, perhaps disappointed that she couldn't talk directly to me. It was heartbreaking to see her sad as I think she was looking forward to it. However, my translator did a phenomenal job.

The time we spent together went by too fast. After many hugs, kisses, pictures and videos, it was time to say good-bye. As I walked out of the building trying not to cry, something grabbed onto me. It was Narcisa wanting to say one last good-bye. Even after I was on the bus, she was at the office door waving good-bye.

It is hard to comprehend how much of an impact you can have on someone for a few dollars a month and a few moments of your time. I would like to think now that since I have visited her city, our facilities, and seen the dire poverty that exists there that I have at least a mild idea of how I impact her life. I'm sure I still can't truly understand and, sadly, I never will be able to. But I can at least try. I know that I comprehend enough that when I get teary eyed about her situation, I could do more for her and her family.

The people in Ecuador are beyond generous, and Narcisa and her family would most likely rather me help another family than just focus on them. They are selfless people and if everyone would aspire to be as selfless at them, then just perhaps the world might not have as many problems anymore. Well, we can all dream, can't we?

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