Emma was overjoyed to meet her sponsored child Kamala and her family during a visit to Nepal.
I’ve been sponsoring Kamala for 5 years in joint sponsorship with my Mum, Sarah. I was walking through a shopping centre near Mums birthday and decided to sponsor her in Mums name. I had been to Nepal once before and loved it – but I also knew there was a need for NGO support there. I couldn’t wait to go there again and knew there was probably an opportunity for me to meet my sponsor child at some point.
At first, meeting Kamala was overwhelming and a tad confusing. We arrived to her school and there were hundreds of kids looking at me, as could be imagined. They knew there was a visitor coming and were very excited but I didn’t realise there would be so many people and wasn’t sure when or where I would see her.
I was standing in amongst lots of little kids and smiling and looking around when a girl came towards me from my right side and boldly struck out her hand and said “hello.” I shook her hand and smiled, asking the project manager, “Excuse me, is this my sponsor child?”
“Yes!” He beamed.
I clutched my chest as a wave of emotion rushed over me and the tears just came. I couldn’t help it. It was such a surprise. I knew it would be a big day but I didn’t expect it to overcome me in this way. Her mother, father, grandmothers and siblings had walked up behind her. I was introduced to them and her mother cried too. Her grandmothers touched my face and hair and held onto my hands tight. I just kept smiling and shaking my head in surprise. We organised a group photo and I was a little shaky – after five years, the day was here!
We went to a small room and we did a welcome ceremony. I’m always concerned for the child in this situation – it can be extremely overwhelming. I kept saying “It’s okay, tik sa”, which is the Nepalese word for “okay”.
I gave her some books and learning activities from my mum in Australia. We then talked through the translator about what she likes to do at school. Her sister and friends were bouncing around us and teasing her for being shy. It was cute and funny. She liked touching my hair!
Her grandmothers were proud as punch and watched on as their grand-daughter met this foreign lady. Her mum was thankful and so happy to have me there. It’s so nice to meet them all!
During the trip, I also got to visit a number of projects outside of the school where Kamala goes. There was an Early Childhood Development Centre, where mothers can take their young children and learn how to best care for them. I met a local government health care worker whose daughter was also a volunteer with World Vision and this made me so happy.
We then went to a local office working with community health programs and outreach centres. We even got to visit one of the newly built centres where mothers can take their children for check ups, people can get vaccinations and health updates. It’s great to see the community there involved in the projects and wanting to see improvements.
You get to learn about this child from across the other side of the world. Seeing how your contributions are changing their life is life changing for you too! I get teary just thinking back on it. It gives you tingles all over. It makes you realise the world is so much bigger than us!
There is so much more out there and we are just a small part of it. But, as the Dalai Lama says “If you think you’re too small to make a difference… try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.”