It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. That’s
either a Dickens quote or most people’s experience with long-distance
And sometimes child sponsorship can feel the same way.
You send a letter and have to wait months for a direct
response. You hear about a child’s family and the good and bad in their
situation, but you can’t be there to celebrate or cry with them. You’ve
automated your bank account to debit $38 every month, but you wonder if it’s
making any difference.
Long-term sponsor Janine had been following Josienne’s
progress for seven years, and was thrilled to be in East Africa at the exact
right time to attend her Rwandan community’s graduation party.
When she met the family, Josienne’s mom said she recognized
Janine immediately from the pictures in her letters.
She may have recognized Janine, but Janine hardly recognized
the community. It was a very different picture than the community she heard
about when she first started sponsoring.
“They are now self-sustaining!” she says, amazed by the
More than ever, she understands that the point of
sponsorship is to help each child’s community reach graduation. Although sad to
say goodbye to Josienne, she’s already committed to sponsoring a boy in
Busekera, the new FH partner community 14 kilometers away.
Child sponsorship isn’t the only long-distance
relationship facilitated through FH Canada. There are currently 16 church,
business and community group partners who have committed to walking long-term
with a developing community.
CapilanoChurch in North Vancouver has partnered with Bufukhula in Mbale, Uganda
since 2004 and will continue until the community’s graduation, projected for
the end of 2013.
Kristee Watson, a longtime member of CapilanoChurch,
lived and worked in Uganda
with the FH in 2007 and 2008.
“I definitely miss the staff,” she says. “We still
have Skype conversations.”
In May she’s returning with a team from her church to help
the community build a dormitory for teachers who live far from the school. The
students’ parents have already completed two dorms, and have seen the
improvement of their kids’ academic scores with the teachers more accessible
But the teachers’ accommodations are only one part of
the trip. The Capilano team and FH Canada staff are working hard to surprise
Kristee’s old friends and co-workers at FH Uganda: they don’t know she’s coming
with the team.
“I’m looking forward to seeing their reactions!” says
It seems the verdict is in. Sometimes even
long-distance relationships can result in happily ever afters.
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