Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meeting our World Vision sponsor child

Teri - The purpose of our visit to Bhopal was to visit our World Vision sponsor child, Aman, and get a tour of the WV projects in the area. On Thursday, October 22, we were picked up by WV staff and brought to the WV office where we were welcomed as honoured guests and given necklaces of fresh flowers to wear. There we met Aman and his parents and older brother Ganesh. Aman's father had booked the day off work for the event and they were all dressed in their best clothes. We gave the boys a soccer ball and they seemed very excited. Aman was all smiles until his dad tried placing him on my lap for a picture and he started wailing! His parents said (through a WV translator) Aman had been up since 4:30 in the morning, he was so excited, so I guess he was getting tired by this point.
There are over 80 slums in the Bhopal area, and WV is currently working in 26 of them. We visited several of these slum communities. Chris and I got a tour of a couple schools where WV has donated new classrooms, desks and other resources. A group of local youth and women shared with us how World Vision has helped them start up children's groups focusing on children's rights and ending child labour, a women's self-help group that started its own bank and loans money to members to start their own businesses, and empowering local volunteers to tackle the problem of tuberculosis by raising awareness and linking TB sufferers to proper treatment., and much more.
We visited Aman's home: His parents greeted us with more flower necklaces, a red dot on our foreheads (like a bindi but not a bindi) to wish us luck, chai tea and snacks. They were extremely gracious and generous; keep in mind they live in a two room 'house' with none of the luxuries we in the West consider necessities. They gave us a family photo to keep, and they only had a total of about eight photos in their possession. I was extremely touched by it all!
Meanwhile, while we were drinking tea inside, a crowd of local children and women had gathered outside. As we were leaving we stopped to pose in pictures with the group that had congregated. Again we felt special! (Also overwhelmed and more than a little guilty.) Aman's father told us to "Come again!" ;)
I think I'm still processing the meaning of that day. It was truly humbling to witness the poverty of the slums and to experience the generosity and graciousness of the residents. I came to really appreciate the good work that World Vision is doing to provide hope not hand-outs to these communities. Meeting Aman and his family has definitely strengthened our commitment to child sponsorship and I'd encourage anyone considering sponsoring a child to go for it!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a very meaningful meeting with Aman and his family (except for his wailing while sitting on your knee!). It's also rewarding to know that the WV dollars aren't 'top heavy' and that they go to very worthwhile projects. I was rememberinig when you and Chris were bike riding in Cozemel(?) and saw some of the poverty on such a renowned 'tourist' mecca (you may recall that L, B, J + N did not see much of that area due to the peddle-pusher golf cart). Treasure the memories of your experiences in Bhopal!