Imagine you are eight years old. You live in a small village in Guatemala, in a small house, which perhaps would be better described as a hut. It’s at the top of a very steep, very rocky hill that you travel up and down several times a day to get to. You live there with your six brothers and sisters, your oldest brother is twenty-four and your youngest is two.
Imagine your home has two rooms, one where you all sleep, in three beds made from pallets, and a few thin blankets. There is an adjoining room that holds the fire pit in which your mother and your sisters cook and wash all your clothing. It is a blessing to have a separate room for the fire, as many of your friends do not, but the smoke is still so thick that it fills the entire house, your lungs, clothing and eyes.
Imagine a woman came to your home one day and asked if you could be “sponsored.” You are not sure what this means. You only know that the woman works for an organization that has been working in your village–an organization that saved your baby sister Rosa’s life. Food for the Hungry came in when she was suffering from chronic malnutrition and pneumonia and got her to a hospital quickly. Your parents are so, so grateful.
Imagine they say “Yes, please, please, let her be sponsored.” Your parents tell you that by saying yes, your village will get more help. More houses will get stoves and families spared from the smoke. There will be better water. Better schools. Lives, like Rosa’s, will be saved.
Imagine, a short time later, that the woman returns to your house and tells you you will have visitors. They are your sponsors and they want to meet you. Your family immediately starts making preparations. They begin planning and saving. They will make the special soup that you only eat on Christmas, and the ingredients cost a lot of money for your family.
Imagine the day comes. Your mother lays out pine needles all over the floor. Your sisters spend hours making corn tortillas, more tortillas than you’ve ever seen. You get so very excited. You run down the hill to school that morning, almost tripping in the mud as your little legs carry you quickly to your classroom. It is hard to concentrate in class knowing that you will meet these special visitors today, and only you and one other girl in your class will get to leave school early and take them to your homes.
Imagine you hear children in the next classroom cheering and yelling. They are chanting, “Amigos! Amigos! Amigos!” Your excitement suddenly turns to fear. You don’t know these people at all. They don’t look like you. They have come a long way just to see you. All eyes will be on you.
And then they appear at your door.
They don’t speak your language, but their tone is soft and kind.
Though you only have learned a few numbers and simple words in Spanish, you recognize that the tall lady with the long hair is trying to communicate with you in Spanish and in smiles. She asks if she can wipe your nose with a soft, white tissue she pulls from her bag. You say yes and you both exchange a knowing glance that says, “I trust you.”
The rest of your day is filled with talking, your parents and your sponsors, with a translator. They talk for what seems like a really long time, and you hear the words “prayer” and “thank you” a lot. Your favorite part of the visit comes when the tall lady with the long hair pulls some gifts from her bag. She has crayons and markers, and a big pad of paper, but your favorite thing she brought is a giant bottle of something she calls “bubbles.” She pulls out a wand and you and your cousins chase the tiny, shiny rainbow-glazed globes down the trail, one after another after another. It is one of the most fun days of your life and you never want your new friends to leave.
But eventually they have to leave. There are hugs and pictures and the tall lady with the long hair cries a bit. She tells you she will pray for you and that she loves you and God loves you too. She promises to send letters and pictures as soon as she gets home.
Imagine you head down to the village to see them off in a ceremony, and when it ends, they climb into a van. The tall lady with the long hair opens her window and waves and smiles and yells goodbye. You are sad and happy at the same time, but your heart feels very, very full. You will never forget this day.
At least not any day that you can imagine.
To sponsor a child with Food for the Hungry, please visit here. A small monthly contribution can make a huge difference in aiding the impoverished and the hungry. Your sponsorship is changing and effecting lives in Guatemala.