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Witnessing the Power of Child Sponsorship

Danielle with Mohammedamin and Fatuma.
Danielle with Mohammedamin and Fatuma.

When Danielle Beasley's parents couldn't travel to Ethiopia to meet their two sponsored children, she decided to make the trip on their behalf. In August 2010, Danielle traveled with a friend to meet Fatuma and Mohammedamin, and witness firsthand the power of child sponsorship.

Here is an account of Danielle's trip, in her own words:


My friend Sarah and I really did not know what to expect upon our arrival in Jimma. We had faced torrential downpours and thunderstorms in Addis and were not fully prepared for the cold and dampness. The day of our visit with the children ended up being the only day that it did not rain, which in itself was a miracle. We had been warned that due to the rainy season it would be difficult to visit them and would require a few hours to hike up to their village; but we were up for the adventure and had Plan prepare for our visit.

Since it’s my parents who are the actual sponsors, I was not familiar with all of the projects that Plan had undertaken. From schools to heath centers, to wells and youth centers, and HIV/AIDS and sanitation education, they have fully immersed themselves into the culture and the needs of the communities that they serve.

On the morning of our visit, Sarah and I were picked up and brought to the Jimma office where we were greeted warmly by all the staff members. We met with the Director of the Plan office in Jimma who explained to us about their mission in Ethiopia and all of the projects that they are working on.

Mr. Worku, our "guide" for the day, showed us around some of the nearby communities and projects that Plan is working on, and we were amazed at how the community members were such participants in their creation and development. We even ended our day with a great Ethiopian dinner with the Director and Mr. Worku!

The highlight of the day was by far the visit with the two children my parents sponsor, Fatuma and Mohammedamin. We were not sure what to expect upon reaching their homes but were blown away by their love, friendliness and hospitality. They brought us into their home and for the few hours that we spent with them we were treated like family.

To see their genuine appreciation for the love and support from my family was truly amazing. To meet these children and their families in person brings so much more depth and love to this relationship that only existed before through a few photos and letters of information.

All I can say is that this will definitely not be my last visit to see these children and the next time, I will make sure my parents are with me for the trip. The Plan staff went above and beyond our expectations to create such a wonderful and memorable day. Sarah and I were both so touched by everyone's friendliness, warmness and hospitality that it was definitely the highlight of our trip. It was truly one of the most memorable days of my life and an experience that will never be forgotten.

 

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