Last week we visited our sponsored child Jennedy. We took Jack's brother, Carter and wife Joy along with us so that they could share in the experience.
This is the third year that we have visited Jennedy and her family. She is now eight years old and just (in November) passed first grade. This is a huge accomplishment for poor children in Guatemala, who often have never seen a book or a toy before they started first grade. They can be forced to repeat first grade two or three times and often quit school entirely out of frustration. Knowing this, we were relieved to hear that she has started second grade and is doing well.
She has grown taller since last year. She remembered us this time and was not as shy as past visits. We brought her a copy of The Giving Tree and were happy to see her able to read a lot of it, which she couldn't do last year. Since she had told us in a letter that her favorite animal was the elephant, we also brought a stuffed elephant!
Jennedy's mother, Feliciana, was very happy that they had just made their last payment on their cement block home (three rooms, outdoor wood-fired kitchen, no obvious bathroom) and now owned both the land and the home, which is a milestone for impoverished families - to know that they have a home that will not be taken from them. She also was embarrasingly grateful for the tiny amount of extra help that we provided last summer (in the form of a few food bags of beans, rice, etc) to help when the father lost his job.
Every year we get more and more bonded to this sweet little girl. This year, I couldn't stop thinking about her after we left. Our dream, of course, is that she graduate from high school - something so few in her economic class are able to do. But every milestone - like first grade graduation - is a step forward to a better life than her parents have had. And a comfirmation that Common Hope is working - poco a poco.
|The gang (except Joy) - family, social worker, translater, Carter and us|
|Raising her a Red Sox fan!|