This was the afternoon we had been waiting for. This is when we would get to meet all the children sponsored through FreddyLink and through a similar project in Chipman. When we arrived at the Cobocol ADP office, all the children and some parents were waiting for us. It really touched my heart to think that through our efforts we have had a direct impact on all of these children. I was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Once we arrived, we took some time to get organiszed. We had brought an envelope of gifts from each child sponsor to give directly to their sponsored child. If any child sponsor did not give us an envelope, we made one up ourselves so that every child would receive an envelope. We also had name tags made so that we could later identify each child in their pictures. We had the ADP staff bring the children to us in groups of ten. We took a picture of each child and gave them their gift.
The children are so beautiful! They were dressed up in their best clothes. Many are quite young and of course do not speak English. The younger children were a little uncertain as to what we were trying to do. The older children were very happy to receive their gifts and we communicated as best we could with our limited French vocabulary.
We saved the children we each personally sponsor for the end so we could spend more time with them. I was so happy to finally meet my own sponsored child, Obenky, in person. He is so young and so tiny and so beautiful! He was very shy, and said very little. Once we got his picture, he sat down and opened his envelope. I think he was somewhat confused by what was going on, but appreciated the gifts.
Afterwards, the youth put on a program for us including music singling, dancing and poems. They all did a great job. The young man making the introduction did so in English. He has learned English and dreams of going to be trained to be a doctor so that he can come back and serve his community.
While we were watching the program, many of the children would come up to us and shake our hands and say Bonswah which means good afternoon. It was so nice to connect so directly with so many children. It is wonderful how a smile can overcome all barriers of language and culture.
On previous days, I was quite tired as we headed back to our hotel. Not this night – I was so full of happiness. It was so wonderful to see the children, to meet them, to see their smiles and hear their voices. They are such precious gifts. I came away from the event feeling a deep sense of satisfaction that what we are doing is good, that it is making a difference, and that we are connected to these children. After meeting these children, Haiti will also be in my heart!