Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Compassion International- Visiting Precious

I have waited a long time to figure out how to write about Compassion and how visiting their projects impacted me. I had long heard awesome things people had told me about the organization. I had never been involved with Compassion before I went on this trip to Ghana. I had just heard lots of things about it through my community of blog friends and in real life friends who sponsor children. 

Honestly, I had been skeptical of many of the claims made by people about how perfect and honest and transparent CI was. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised by my visits to 3 compassion project sites in Ghana, West Africa. 

The trip to visit Precious impacted me the most. We could make arguments as to why, certainly. But I think it is because Michelle trusted me to share her love with this little girl. We were utterly exhausted the day we visited Ato Sam and I really don't remember it in much detail beyond what I penned in my journal. And I loved visiting George and George because it was part of JD and Tia's beautiful friendship together. But Precious and the kids sponsored through this woman who lives 5000 miles away from them is what really stuck with me.

We got to see everything about Precious' project. The meticulously kept records, the curricula used to teach the children basic education. I will even admit to feeling a huge sigh of relief as JD passed to me a book that explains good touch, bad touch and how an adult should never touch their body in ways that make them uncomfortable. I knew what they were teaching would help these kids. 
Some of the curricula used by Compassion International
The project directors had a very neat office and every single photo of every single child enrolled into the program displayed on a bulletin board. It was neat to know they knew them all by name. Knew their neighborhoods, their families, their needs. We asked about children who had been sponsored because of Precious and they pulled out a list of names and pointed them out to us.
Pictures of the Compassion children. They did not even have to look for a child when we asked about one, they knew the faces and where they were by heart
When we asked about Michelle, their faces broke into smiles. Ear to ear. They had Precious' file waiting for us and showed us every single letter Michelle and her family had sent to this little girl and every letter she had sent to them. They had record of every cent spent on her and how it was spent, records of her being enrolled into the medical program, records of her schooling successes and her family life, illnesses... you name it, it was in this file.
Us pouring over Precious' file

 It was very amazing to find out that this particular project won the award for best project in Ghana the previous year. And they were so excited to tell us about it.

Samuel (on the right) was out gracious host for the visits to the compassion centers. It was a pleasure and joy to get to know him a bit. Next to him is his best friend.
 When we got to Precious' school we were greeted by so many beautiful, happy, sweet children.

Eventually we found one of the most beautiful kids I had ever seen with her little black backpack on her back bouncing around with her friends.
Be Still, My Heart- Photo Credit: JD Richardson
 We got to meet Precious and 3 other children who have been sponsored through the Precious connection.

Prince, Precious, Kenneth (all sponsored through the Precious Connection)
We also got to see where Precious goes to school and meet her lovely family.
Precious and her family- Photo Credit: JD Richardson
I got the very awesome and humbling honor to present Precious and her family with many of the gifts that Michelle chose for her and her family. JD did most of the talking because well, I don't really like to lead the talking and she is pretty flawless at it. But I did get to stroke sweet faces and hand out prized possessions to their family. Precious LOVED the doll that her American sister picked out for her. And Precious' little brother, Prince, was jumping out of his shoes with anticipation over the soccer ball that awaited him.
Prince receiving his soccer ball. Photo credit: JD Richardson.
. There were a few children who hadn't yet been sponsored in Precious' project. 8 to be exact. Well, 7... because we brought news that someone had sponsored Emmanuel. The project did not even know yet that he'd been sponsor and we already had gifts for him and a message from his sponsor that he was very loved. We asked where he was when we visited the offices and they told us that he was in the hospital with malaria and that we could go see him if we wanted. We did and it was very good to see him doing well, he was even released to go home and we dropped him off in his neighborhood. But what is so awesome about Compassion is that when you are enrolled into the program, you get all the benefits of a sponsored child. Emmanuel hadn't been sponsored yet but he DID have national health insurance since he was enrolled in the program. And was able to get the medical care he needed when he was quite sick.

It was an awesome experience to visit the compassion projects! I can wholeheartedly say that Compassion is transparent and honest in how they run their organization. I can say the children who are in the program are healthy and enrolled in school and doing well. I can say that a sponsorship doesn't just help a child but it helps the entire community. I can tell you that if you sponsor a child you will gain a new family that you will love and connect with (if you put the work into building those relationships of course). You will be alerted to the childs successes and their communities successes. You will be invested in a life and in a community and it is a beautiful thing to witness.

So please, if you have ever thought about sponsoring a child go to Compassion's website and look for a child who speaks to your heart. If you want to be a part of The Precious Connection, get in touch with Michelle and she can help you find a child in project GH220 who needs a sponsor.

And trust me when I say that I have seen it with my own eyes and it isn't just about one child. As if that weren't enough (because we all know it is) but it is about equipping communities.

1 comment:

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Aw, I love it!! What a special opportunity it is for me to read your account of the visit! I am blessed! Thank you so much for everything you did!