Learning about their life in comparison to ours
"They’re very polite and disciplined – I observed that from a very young age, in order for them to survive, they have to work together as one. They truly define what a community is."
I looked at my life; I’d argue about putting my TV show off to go do the dishes or the lawn mowing. Then I saw these kids with their two-month-old sibling tied on their back while they worked. So it was just a huge contrast between our life and the sort of life they have.
Discovering what sponsorship really means
When I was entering the community, a gathering of people were there just to say thank you for everything that I had done. “Thank you for what? I’m only helping Vianney” I said.
"But I saw firsthand that because I’m sponsoring a child, the benefits are not only received by Vianney but the whole community through larger projects."
Putting my spending into perspective
I, like most people in Australia, have been privileged to receive an education, have a house over my head and food on the table, so for me I don’t see why I can’t sacrifice a little bit to ensure that other people in the world can have similar opportunities.
"In Australia, I go to the movies with my girlfriend where it costs me $50 for two student tickets and popcorn – and that’s for two hours of entertainment. Why not use that money for something that’s actually benefiting children who need it most? As sponsors, we have all made those choices."
I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned, that we can all make a difference, everyone can. Yes, everybody has their budgets, but it’s just choosing how we spend our money. The smallest of gestures can make a large difference in anyone’s life.
How I encouraged others through my visit
My friends knew what I was doing when I left for Burundi, but when I got back and showed them the photos, they could only make comparisons to the movies. They asked “Is it real? Are there kids in those refugee camps guarded by metal fences?” I said, “That’s very true…
"…when I was there I saw the United Nations refugee camp, I saw young kids, and infants working in the fields and fetching water, instead of attending school. All the kids I met and have photos of, they’re very happy and they’re just like you and I, just in another part of the world.”
Since coming back I’ve had three friends sign up straight away and sponsor children. I’ve encouraged people that if you are in a position where you have the means to assist others it can make a huge difference for those who struggle in the world.
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