Sally had many eye-opening moments while visiting her sponsored child in Uganda on a recent Overseas Experiences trip with World Vision. She was faced with a question from her family’s sponsored child that, while simple to answer, continues to bewilder her. Sally shares with us what shocked her, but also the moments that showed her firsthand how her family’s support is making a huge difference.
By Sally, Uganda Child Sponsor and Overseas Experiences participant
I had always wanted to go to Africa. I just didn’t know how it would happen – so when the opportunity came to experience Uganda with World Vision, I didn’t pass up the chance.
I think the trip appealed because it was an opportunity to experience a whole different way of life – being able to travel for 12 days around Uganda and build relationships with World Vision staff and community members. I didn’t really go with many expectations; I was just open for whatever wonderful experiences were coming.
As part of the trip I was required to fundraise on behalf of the communities we would visit in North West Uganda. One way of doing this was to encourage friends and family to sponsor children. I decided to host an afternoon tea and my daughter, her boyfriend, my friend’s daughter and my niece and I all sponsored a child from the Offaka project.
Meeting our four sponsored children
The Overseas Experiences team organised for our four sponsored children to visit the World Vision office in Offaka – so I had the opportunity to meet them! It was just lovely.
Nankunda* was my niece’s sponsored child. She is 12 and plays netball – as does my daughter so we were able to share stories. Nankunda had the most beautiful face. Sadly she has HIV/AIDS and her mum has it too. The staff were telling me that Nankunda recently had to go and stay with relatives because her mum was too sick.
"As I was sitting there, Nankunda asked our interpreter “Was it still ok that we sponsored her even though she has AIDS?” This thought had never entered my mind and I wanted to reassure her so I gave her a big hug and said “of course”."
Nankunda responded with her beautiful beaming smile, it just resonated with me. She continued to sit beside me and we talked. Then when we were leaving, she ran alongside the bus waving. Having HIV/AIDS still has such a stigma attached. It’s just really, really sad.
My sponsored child, Milton who was only six, was very quiet. However, I was reassured that all the way home he probably wouldn’t shut up; he would just keep talking the whole way and that made me smile.
It was such an honour to meet those children and now I’ve got a stronger connection with them. All four of our sponsored children were family and they were sponsored by my family … it has had a big impact on me.