As a sponsor of these children I believe that we need to make a special effort to write and support them in improving their confidence and self-image. I will be doing this in future letters with Sampson.
The next visit was to meet 10-year-old Faustina from the same project, in a remote community in West Ghana. We left the tar road for a dirt road then had to walk by foot through a light rain forested area just to get there.
The extended family made us feel very welcome. Like all my visits, the 2-3 hour event is over before you blink. A hug and farewell happen before you realise that all your questions and observations which you intended to make, have been forgotten in the excitement.
To get full value from your visit, you really should carefully plan in advance what you hope/want to see and know. The World Vision team are always happy to take on camera duties on your behalf. The photos taken can then be posted back to your sponsored child in letters over the next year or so.
My next visit was to meet Shedrack. He is a lovely six-year-old boy who was dressed in his best clothes. He looked very smart, as did his family, who were dressed in their best traditional outfits. The whole community was there - they are generous in their praises of both the sponsors and World Vision staff.
Finally, I fly out of Accra to Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana, eventually reaching the border with Burkina-Faso where the World Vision Talensi-Nabdam project is. Like all World Vision teams, they make you feel very welcome. They show you their headquarters and field offices, explain what is happening in the project area, and often take you to local markets, which you would otherwise never see.
I had expected Bolgatanga to be very dry, desolate, and hot, but instead was greeted by tar highways, and lovely green fields of small, and broad-acre farming of rice, corn and cotton. My sponsored child, Godswill, rushed out to meet us. He guided us through the green fields to the community where he and his family live.
I encourage everyone, if possible, to visit their sponsored child. It means so much to them!! The Australian World Vision team are experts in taking you through the formalities, and assisting with accommodation. To sponsor a child is one thing, but a visitation will really cement your relationship, and add that extra dimension to your experience.