OK, so that's the end of the RAIN extracts for a while. The time has come to talk of other things ... that's a cheeky steal from one of my favourite lines of all time, from The Walrus and The Carpenter (Lewis Caroll, 1872)
Today I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our sponsored family, 3-year-old Jefferd who lives on a small island in the Philippines.
His father is self-employed and is unable to provide for the family that includes Jefferd, his brother and their mother, due to insufficient rainfall and infertile land in an area where the main sources of income are farming and basket-weaving.
Malnutrition, lack of education and infrastructure, and agricultural technology are some of the critical issues for the families in the area.
We hope our sponsorship makes a difference to this family, and that we might also make a trip to visit Jefferd one day in the near future, although one does not get on a Philippine ferry without fear of death. Steve will have to improve his swimming before then.
We have four other sponsored children: John Paul in Uganda and Dolon Biswas in Bangladesh (through World Vision, Australia), and Sarita-Maya in Nepal and Oscar Ayca in Peru (through Plan Australia).
When sponsoring a new child, our primary consideration is for the poorest countries, and then where there seems to be the most children waiting for sponsors. From the World Vision, Australia website, it seems Zimbabwe has a lot of children in need of sponsorship. In total there are 1,417 children on the waiting list for this one site.
Since we first started sponsoring in 1994, we've seen a number of children through school and into adulthood. We receive regular updates on both the children and their communities, and messages, photos and cards from the children. Through World Vision Australia, you can also contribute further for birthday and Christmas gifts. One year, through Plan Australia, we sent a scarf with an Aboriginal theme for the mother of our first sponsored child, Monowar. We chose the scarf because there are weight restrictions when you send gifts through the system. Sometime later we received a photo with the scarf featured ... except it was being used as a tablecloth. :)
For us, it's important also to learn more about the communities and the issues they face on a daily basis—this ensures we never forget to be thankful that our lives are full of blessings.
Another important initiative we support each year is the Smiles Catalogue through World Vision Australia.