There they stood posing, faces gleaming, proud and tall, in front of the few possessions they have and need for secondary school: a bucket, a foam bedroll, a small suitcase, and backpack. The directors of Good Hope had posted pictures on Facebook of the handful of students that were headed off to Pasua Secondary Boarding School in Moshi; a handful of students with dreams and determination and fortunate enough to have sponsors who want them to succeed.
I studied each picture and face carefully, looking for clues and proof of their excitement. These children are not strangers to me. I learned their names, shook their hands, hugged them, and heard their hopes for their future. I couldn't help but invest. And that is exactly what I believe sponsoring an education is - an investment. There is no better gift than an opportunity to pursue one's dreams, and for these kids living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in challenging home environments, it is a lifeline.
I couldn't help but remember how our car bulged with furniture, clothes and boxes when we dropped our kids off at university, and the number of trips to unload it. Quite the polar opposite for the Good Hope kids who travel light with their few belongings tucked into a tidy metal box, and the new bedroll and bucket that came with the sponsorship. Life is both simple and complicated in the Majengo neighbourhood in Moshi. The school and home environments are what we would call "minimalist" while the health and socioeconomic challenges are cluttered and complex.
Our money has a lot of clout in developing nations and has much more impact than here at home. The amount we pay for a pack of chewing gum can purchase 5 notebooks, and provide exponentially more bang for our buck.
I found a generous sponsor for my serious young friend David and when I assured him that his sponsor, as a successful entrepreneur, only makes solid investments, he turned to me and said, "And he is investing in me, right?"
I see it as investing in humankind, world peace, and in self. And for that opportunity, I am truly grateful.
Good luck Abdi, David, Viviany, Calvin, Issa, Ibrahim, Christian, and Veronica.
|David looking so serious on send off day|