These posts are written by Carl Kiger, a long time sponsor and 58ten community member. After traveling to Kenya, Carl felt compelled to share with other sponsors why they should consider taking a trip to Kenya with 58ten.
Your Child: The privilege we have in sponsoring a child through 58ten is that we have a direct relationship with the child we sponsor. This direct relationship is somewhat unique within support organizations of this nature. While we, as sponsors, have a clear view of the benefits we receive through having a direct relationship such as this, I really want you to try to see things from your child’s perspective. Put in the most basic terms, your child considers you his family (his parents). While the staffers and other children at the home are also his family, you are specifically the people that he (or she) can call his own. The letters, packages, and Christmas videos that we send to them throughout the year are truly the highlight of their year. They look forward to each of these things with great anticipation. While they always appreciate all the items we send, most of the children go directly to the letters and pictures first. Prior to going on my first trip, preparation of these various items was often something that we did hastily at the last minute before it was due. Once you see how the children react to these items, you will forever treat the preparation of these items with the level of seriousness that they deserve.
Going back to the thought that your child considers you his parents, imagine having parents you have never met. I can say without hesitation, your child longs to meet you with every fiber of his being. Additionally, as they get older, this feeling of longing only intensifies. Each time a new group of sponsors arrives at the home, five to ten of the children at the home are elated beyond belief because their most important dream has come true. Their sponsor has come to visit them. While all the children are super excited to see the sponsors, for that special group of five to ten children, their world has literally changed. At this point you may want to stray towards the cynical part of yourself (which is in all of us) and think that I am overstating this. I can promise you I am not. If you know a sponsor who has traveled to Kenya, just take time to ask them about it. Also, look at the pictures below, and judge for yourself the importance to the child of meeting and spending time with his sponsor.
Additionally, during the time you are at the home, children will come up to you and ask if you know their sponsors. Sometimes they are carrying their sponsors’ pictures, and other times they are asking about them by name, but this happens so often that you will lose count. It breaks my heart when I have to say that I do not know them, but it makes my day when I do know them and can record a video message from the child to take back to his sponsor.
Given the number of trips that 58ten has taken to Mulango at this point, I would estimate that less than 25% of the children have met their sponsors. Having now been twice, this really breaks my heart. The reason that a few sponsors have been able to go twice is simply that the demand from people going for the first time has not been that high. First time sponsors always take priority over a sponsor wanting to go for a second time. As I mentioned in the first paragraph of my letter, my goal is to convince you to visit the child that you sponsor. Though a part of me would be sad if there was such a demand for first-time sponsor visits that it never allowed me to visit Moki again, another part of me would be joyous beyond belief because so many more of the children would be able to meet and know their sponsors. I know that we all have unique circumstances in our lives, and that 100% of sponsors visiting their children will never be possible, but my prayer is that the vast majority of children will be able to meet and interact with their sponsor(s). It will change their lives, and it is a memory that they will cherish forever.