Updates from my Tanzanian and Kenyan Babies

If you’re new around these parts, you might think I’ve suddenly become Angelina Jolie after reading the title of this post, but no…I’m a Compassion International sponsor!

Actually, lately, I’ve been a bit of a lazy Compassion International sponsor. I had big plans to get a cute bundle of Easter goodies mailed out, but I barely got an Easter e-mail sent out instead (you really have to plan ahead; mail delays for my kids seem to vary from three weeks to two months). I also haven’t been very good about writing as often as I’ve “meant to” (chock it up as another intentional living fail).

Today is actually the day that is set aside for letter writing. So, guess what I’m doing?

That’s right…my handy-dandy Compassion folder is out and my pen is ready for some letter writing.

We’ve gotten a lot of what my Compassion friends affectionately call “happy mail” in the past couple of months. It never ceases to thrill me when I pull out a big ol’ cream and blue Compassion envelope out of the mailbox. Like a Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get!

In February, we received updated information on our Tanzanian “baby,” Happyness. Guess what it included?

An updated photo! She’s really grown since her first photo!

In her letter, she thanked us for our Christmas gift “because it was nice and very attractive.” I’m guessing it might be the outfit that she is wearing in the photo, but I’m not sure.

We also received a school report card. It made me sad. She is listed as an average student, but her highest grade is in math and it is in the 60s…everything else is in the 20-40 grade range. (At first, I thought they might have a different grading scale, but they don’t.) That means she is failing almost every subject, but she is still being promoted to 4th grade. I have to remember that grades are always subjective to a certain extent and that this child is living in a home where there may not be enough food to eat and she may not feel safe when she lies down to sleep each night. Safety, hunger, health, anxiety/depression…all of these things factor into a child’s educational performance.

Her report card inspired me to write tonight’s letter about school. I’ve asked my girls to draw a school-related picture or share something about school. I’m going to praise Happyness for doing well in math and encourage her about the importance of education. I also plan to ask if she has any subjects that are difficult, then share about my tearful childhood relationship with fractions. I just want to encourage her to do her best in school. If her best is a 40…so be it!  After all, the report card listed Happyness’ special talent as LOVE. You can’t beat that! I always include a scripture reference, so this letter’s verse will be Proverbs 8: 10-11:

Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Several months ago, Michelle blogged about how Compassion lists the “hunger months” (months when food supplies are low) on each child’s community profiles (incidentally, those months are also high illness months). So, I waited until those months began for Happyness’ family and I sent a family gift, hoping that they will be able to buy some supplies to help lighten their burden. I have much empathy for Happyness’ mother who must have a difficult time providing for two children on her own after the death of her husband. I can only imagine.

We also received our first letter from Reson, our newest correspondence child.

Things we learned about her:

  • She lives with both of her parents
  • She has two siblings (though I can’t tell by the names if they are brothers or sisters)
  • She likes to play “hide and seek”
  • Her favorite song is “O Happy Day”
  • Her favorite food is rice and beans
  • Her favorite Bible story is the birth of Jesus
  • Her favorite color is blue
  • Her favorite school subject is math
  • Her prayer request was that God would help her to “pursue well her education so as to become an important person in the future.” Guess who’s getting an education-related letter this month as well? 🙂

 Have you gotten any “happy mail” lately? If you’ve blogged about letter writing ideas, share your links in the comments!

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2 Responses to Updates from my Tanzanian and Kenyan Babies

  1. Hooray for happy-dances with pictures! 😀

  2. Pingback: The Old Man and the Starfish {The Power of One} | Faith Like Mustard

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