By Gay Verhoogt, Kenya Child Sponsor
I was surprised at the level of emotion I felt when I visited my sponsored child. It was an unforgettable experience - both a pleasure and a privilege.
Although our family has sponsored children in Africa for 30 years, I never felt a close connection to their lives. Being able to spend time with our sponsored child and to see firsthand the many ways in which my sponsorship improves their daily life was incredible.
After a long time in the nursing profession I was able to fulfil a dream of doing volunteer nursing in Kenya. It gave me a break from regular nursing and the opportunity to travel. While in Kenya, with the help of World Vision, I was able to organise a visit to our sponsored child, Naomi.
The day started when Fred and Nelson, World Vision Kenya staff, picked me up to take me to see her community in the Wema project. It was slow travelling over the pot-holed sealed road with speed humps and spiked road blocks put there to ensure we stopped for police checks. Travel became even slower when we hit the very rough dirt road. On the way we picked up Lydiah, our interpreter, and Beatrice, another World Vision staff member.
Naomi has been learning English at school and with Lydiah as an interpreter we were able to be interactive and relax over a cup of their very best hot sweet milky Kenyan tea.
Finally being able to greet Naomi after sponsoring her for eight years was emotional, exciting and joyful. Naomi lives with her grandmother in a basic mud hut without running water or electricity.
I loved being welcomed into their community. It was revealing to see the basic conditions they live in and the meagre crops they are trying to grow to make a living. They have so little yet they are so happy.
The community were very welcoming and appreciative of my gifts. World Vision had made suggestions and I enjoyed seeing their delight when I was able to give them a football and pump, and some school stationery.