By Karen Young, Malawi Child Sponsor
We had travelled eight hours by bus, forty minutes in the back of a utility and then sat on the luggage racks of bicycles for the final six km ride down the sandy track to our accommodation. This is exactly how we love to travel ... authentically. It was the day before our scheduled visit to see our sponsored child, Yona. We were in Africa for other reasons and thought the opportunity too great to not visit. The next day the World Vision staff collected us for the short trip to Yona’s community.
We were quite anxious for the 20 minute drive to Yona's community. The last thing we wanted was a big deal. We were hoping to slip in barely noticed and just encourage this boy and his community. But that wasn't to be, as they had a lad on drums and three ladies in full voice belting out a traditional welcome song as we pulled up.
It was clear the community members really valued our visit, with many elders present, lots of speeches and delicious locally grown food.
It was a very emotional time as it had been about eight years since we had started sponsoring this lovely boy and I felt I knew him to some extent that is hard to describe. When we met, he was particularly loving and affectionate, perhaps because I was the one who wrote all the letters. I took lots of the annual reports with me and Yona wanted to keep them all. I had to explain that I wanted to keep at least one or two with his photo.