“This was something special”: meeting Asya in Ethiopia

By Chrissy, child sponsor

I have sponsored Asya for over 13 years. It’s been amazing to see her grow, not only physically, but also in regards to her schooling and learning.

When I first started to organise this visit to finally meet Asya, my son Kai and I were very excited. The planning was intense because of the remoteness of Asya’s community and the location of the World Vision office.

When we arrived, both of us were overwhelmed. We knew we were in for an adventure of a lifetime, but also an experience that we will both remember for the rest of our lives. You can’t put a price on sitting in a World Vision car getting taken to a hotel that we couldn’t even find on the internet. We were seriously in the middle of nowhere but felt like celebrities as everyone knew why we were there. Induction happened that afternoon with all the World Vision staff, who were nothing short of amazing, welcoming and beautiful people.

The evening before the visit was exciting and emotional and reality definitely set in that tomorrow I would be doing something I’d been wanting to do for many years.

We were picked up by World Vision the next day and went to Asya’s school where we were met with lots of smiling, happy children and adults. Two lines of children sang to us a welcoming song and Asya stood in the middle. Tears rolled down my face as this precious girl walked towards us. It was so surreal and the impact of this still brings tears to my eyes today as I write this. We have always maintained communication with Asya – but this was something special. My son and Asya walked hand in hand back to the car after the ceremony finished.

Next we were taken into her school, and we were told about the work that World Vision has done and will continue to do. The community now have water they can access straight away – before World Vision started working in this area, some people had to walk two to five kilometres just to get drinking water. Toilets were also built in the school, and the children were learning English.

Left: Chrissy and her son Kai travelled to Ethiopia to meet their sponsored child Asya. Right: Kai and Asya walk together through the Assosa community. Below: Sponsored child Asya with members of her family.

Visiting Asya’s community was such a powerful experience. Her extended family and many other families were there to greet us. I must admit I was so overwhelmed to see all these happy and loving people around us who appreciated what my sponsorship had done for them. I didn’t know how I was going to respond to this experience but just let myself go and enjoyed every second, not wanting the day to end yet knowing it was going to.

Wow it made me realise how lucky we are in Australia, how much we take for granted and what in life we really need. Especially when I saw how much love and happiness there is in the villages we visited and the people we met.

We visited other schools in the 16 different communities my sponsorship supports as well as medical and vet facilities that World Vision has helped to build and continues to maintain. You don’t realise where your money goes until you see it right in front of your eyes.

Not only were we blessed to be able to do this visit, we have been asked to go back before World Vision’s work in the Assosa community will end. I have already accepted this invitation with open arms and look forward to it.

It’s very hard to sum up this experience in a few words. I want to tell everybody out there that it’s an absolutely amazing experience and if anyone is thinking of visiting their child they sponsor through World Vision, do yourself a favour and do it!