We met our Compassion kids at the Saturday school they attend. This is a school were they go to learn about God and other things. The kids came in and were very shy. We talked to them through our translator. Our translator was actually a Compassion International graduate (more on him later). We met our kids and were able to visit with them for a bit. Then we decided to go visit each of their homes. As we were walking to the car, Kaylee said "I recognize her clothes." I didn't know what she was referring to so I asked her to clarify. Kay then said that she recognized Betelehem's sweater. I passed it off as nothing...
So we made our way to Betelehem's home. Eight of us got into a very small taxi (think mini-cooper size). We drove down several paved and dirt roads and ended up (in the only word I can think to describe it) in a slum. There were "houses" which were really just tin rooms built continuously down a dirt path. There were lots of narrow dirt pathways that had houses on each side. It was like a maze of dirt and tin. There were puddles of stagnant water everywhere. There were dogs walking around. There was trash everywhere. There was a smell that I assume was just garbage.
We walk down a narrow dirt pathway that was probably 4-5 feet wide. We reached Betelehem's home. Her mother came out to greet us. She was a lovely woman who was very quiet. Our translator asked her if we could come in her home. She said yes. I went in. It was one room that was no bigger than 10 foot by 10 foot. In this room alone, they sleep, cook, do laundry, and just be together. Betelehem's father passed away so it is just her, her mother and a little brother. There was not much in this home. There were no beds, no furniture, not anything that we would consider a staple. The floor was just dirt. I stood there amazed at how little they had. I knew that the kids in the Compassion program were poor, but I had no idea what the conditions were really like.
We did bring gifts for Betelehem and her family. Some fun toys, candy and toiletry items as well as beans, rice, sugar. I am so glad that we took these things. Betelehem's face just lit up when we told her these things were for her.
Right before we left, I asked if we could take a group picture. I also took a picture of Betelehem and her mother to send back to them. As we were leaving, I asked if I could give them a hug. It felt so good to hug them and make that physical connection.
Us and Betelehem and her mother. The 2 gentleman in the door are our
guide/translator and the Compassion director for that area.
God is amazing. Here we live a life where we do not have to worry about most things. They live a life where they always have to worry. I pray for our Compassion kids more diligently now. I pray for each one and their families. It is so hard to think about what they go through on a daily basis.
A note on Betelehem's sweater... When we got home from Africa, Kay went to her room and got her bookmark that has Betelehem's picture on it. The day that we met Betelehem she had on the same clothes that she had on in her Compassion picture. This is probably the only set of clothes that she owns.
Next will be our visit to Erymite's home as well as a challenge for you...