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A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 3)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Day 2 ADP visit:

This would be the happiest and most memorable day of my entire trip to YongSheng.

Why?

Because this was the day I was going to meet my sponsored child. After sponsoring her for 5-years (beginning in 2008), I was finally going to meet her for the very FIRST time.

We began our trip into Shui Jing village that morning. Thereafter, we entered a community hall where we waited for our sponsored children to arrive.

When I first saw her walking in with her mom, I knew that was her. My heart skipped a beat, I was lost for words and I didn’t even know how to react. She was so different from her photo – different in a sense that she looked very mature and seemed to have grown exceptionally taller. But she was still who she was – my dear sponsored child. I immediately shook hands with her, and took pictures with her and her family.

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Couldn’t wait & just had to take a shot with my sponsored child, Yu Xiang upon meeting her for the very first time at the Community Centre

We exchanged greetings before World Vision staff organised a lunch for us and the families. What a great plan! Thank you, World Vision for organizing it this way.

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Lunch time with Yu Xiang, her parents, child sponsors and World Vision staff

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A family portrait with Yu Xiang and her family

As I am illiterate in Mandarin, I was very lucky to have 3 sponsors who were very willing to lend a hand in becoming my “official translators”. I felt like a V.V.I.P that day 🙂

After lunch, we proceeded to her school in the township of Guanghua where again, we met up with the rest of the other kids and interacted with them through games and sharing.

But the time that I was really looking forward to, was the one-to-one meet-up session for every sponsor and his / her sponsored child. And when my time came, I was all too eager to proceed with it. We were ushered into an empty classroom, where the World Vision YongSheng staffs were at hand to act as translators too (due to the different accents of Mandarin). Together with my 3 “official translators”, we all sat down and I began to present her the gifts I bought for her. Her eyes beamed with joy when she opened the presents one by one. We explained to her what some of the gifts are and showed her how to play with some of the games, and she even wrote a Thank You note for me there and then itself.

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The one-to-one meet up session. Thank you Karen, Eloise & Catherine for being my interpreters!

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Karen, Eloise & Catherine being as helpful and patient as ever in helping with the translation throughout the session

Alas, like all happy journeys, all good things must come to an end. And the time to say goodbye and bid farewell came soon after. I took this opportunity to take a few more shots with her and used the last few minutes to give her a warm inspirational chat. At the last few seconds I shook hands with her and gave her a warm hug before she made her way back to her class. I promised her that I would come back to see her again when World Vision organize another trip to YongSheng in the future. Even as she walked back to her class, she turned and looked back at me a few times.

I’ve always been a strong person, but on that day, I felt really emotional and tears did flow a little. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and talk to her more, I wanted to guide her through her studies, teach her new things, play games with her – but I know it’s just not possible. The time has come and I had to let her go.

Sitting in the jeep on the way down and back to the hotel, many thoughts raced through my mind. Visions of my sponsored child and the “very few moments” that we had together came flooding back. Tears started to flow again. I do not know when I’ll be able to come back to see her again. But one thing I know is, the events & memories which took place today, I will cherish forever in my heart.

A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 2)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Day 1 ADP visit:

Prior to departing to our first designated venue, we stopped by World Vision’s YongSheng Office for an introduction session of the YongSheng ADP by its very friendly ADP Manager, Mr. James Leong. We were showed round the office, from its administration centre to its training rooms and even the dorms – which are used to provide lodging to students, staffs and visitors. After almost 2 hours at the centre, we began our journey to our first destination.

Today’s agenda was to visit the Liude Primary School. This school is situated somewhat on a hilltop, and the remaining 500m to the school was excruciatingly bumpy due to the rocky & sandy road.

Once we arrived at the school compound, we were surrounded by the many kids that were all too eager to meet us. Comprising mainly of primary school children, they were extremely enthusiastic when they saw us walk into their school grounds.

Pei Ling, our ever helpful tour and organizing team leader, gave an opening speech, thereafter, we joined the kids in playing games, interacting and taking photographs with them. It truly surprised me that many of them were actually very good at posing for shots – especially the girls!

While some of the team members met up with their sponsored child, I made my way out to the school compound and met up with the headmaster of the school (really neat guy!) and asked him questions about the school’s facilities and what the government and World Vision has done to assist them – and I must say the things he told me were very convincing. I was extremely impressed when he showed me the school’s Computer Lab. Flat screen monitors and high performance CPUs, coupled with internet access – now that’s an eye-opener for me, for a school that’s located deep in the woods & mountains of YongSheng County.

I was told that YongSheng has suffered drought for the past 3 years, and there hasn’t been a drop of rain since then. That said, the government has implemented water rationing for most of its areas – including schools. It broke my heart when I saw the kids queuing up and taking turns to feed themselves with water when “drinking time” came. My dad even wanted to give them his mineral water bottle but the official said it would be of no use. There just wasn’t enough to be passed around.

Our session ended at approximately 4.20pm when we had to bid farewell to the kids. We shook hands, took last minute pictures with them and said our goodbyes before boarding our vehicles for the long way down again.

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Briefing in progress at World Vision’s YongSheng Program Office with ADP Manager, Mr. James Leong

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The children at Liude Primary school. Didn’t I say they were photogenic 😉

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Our team members having fun with the kids

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The impressive & real neat-looking computer lab

A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 1)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Preamble:

25th March 2012 marks the day that will change my life forever.

It was to be the beginning of a week long adventure that would be filled with joys, tears and passion for me & everyone that was involved.

Since becoming a child sponsor (for a little girl in Yongsheng) with World Vision Malaysia back in 2008, I have always longed for the day when I would have the chance to meet my sponsored child face-to-face. And thanks to World Vision Malaysia – my wish came through in late December last year when I received an email from them announcing they will be holding a Child Sponsorship visit to Yongsheng in March 2012.

I wasted no time in signing-up for the trip because I did not want to miss out on this golden opportunity. I was told that the next probable time for the same trip to happen would mostly take another 3-4 years, and maybe even up to 6 years – so I had to go this time.

So, with 11 other participants and 2 World Vision Malaysia staff – and armed with a bagful of gifts & presents which I bought to give to my child –  I started my journey on an 8-day excursion trip to Yongsheng, China on what would become the most memorable and adventure-filled trip of my entire life.

For this trip, I decided to take my dad along – for one sole reason –  to let him see what World Vision was doing, how they operate, and most importantly, to show him who my sponsored child was and why I was so passionate to get involve in the child sponsorship program.

Hence, on a slightly cloudy but sunny morning of 25th March 2012, our entire entourage took to the skies and made our way to chilly Kunming. Flight touched down at 1:10pm, and we had to endure a 3-hour wait at the airport before boarding our connecting flight to the beautiful city of Lijiang.

After spending a night in Lijiang, we began our long journey into YongSheng in 4-wheel drives & accompanied by World Vision Yongsheng office staff. The journey through treacherous mountain roads and uneven grounds gave me a sore back but was well worth it as the scenery along the way was truly magnificent. If you love the outdoors and photography is your passion, then the mountain roads of China is for you!

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The treacherous mountain roads leading towards YongSheng. You’ll have to be a real skillful driver to navigate these roads

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The concrete bridge that connects Lijiang to YongSheng

马来西亚世界宣明会儿童助养计划中国黎平探访之旅 – 寻找你、我、他的足迹

by Cheah Wai Kit

非常的难得有机会去到黎平和他(我的助养童)见个面。还没出发之前,我每天都在倒数那天的来临,似乎要赶紧去那儿感受他们的生活!这是我人生中难忘的一次经验,为期7天之旅,坐了四趟的飞机,应该坐了超过三十个小时的车程,寻找你、我、他的足迹。

我,马来西亚世界宣明会同工和这次之旅的助养人在机场见了个面!还没上飞机之前,在小聚会中有了这么的一个想法。我们每个人有不一样的背景,不一样的生活习惯,不一样的学历,不一样的工作,有很多的不一样,但是因为有‘他’ 我们聚集在一起,朝着同一个目标和方向,为一群小孩子们寻找他们心中的那个他!

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我是助养人!即将开始我们这四天的探访生活。

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黎平的风景是如此的美丽。

黎平是中国侗疆的腹地。位于贵州省东南边缘,地处黔、湘、桂三省(区)交界处,是贵州东进南下的前沿。全县辖25个乡镇(10镇15乡),总面积4441多平方公里,总人口50.3万人,是全国侗族人口聚居最多的县。这里真的非常美丽和灵静,是中国少数民族的家,大多数的村落都是在山上,风景如画般的优美。

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小朋友们的欢迎队伍。

来到了第一个村庄,这里的欢迎仪式已令我无法忘记。无论是大人和小孩,大家都非常的用心欢迎我们的到来,当时真的有点感动到落泪。以上的那张照片就是估计有百名的小朋友晒着大大的太阳列队来欢迎我们。口中还声声的大喊‘欢迎,欢迎,热烈欢迎’。小朋友们清纯的脸孔,可爱的笑容和天真的心,早已令我心动。心想我只是区区每月付去的五十令吉,他们却如此的热烈欢迎我们的到来,这劳师动众的仪式我真的感觉受宠若惊。对他们而言可能这区区的五十令吉已是很大的帮助。在此我诚心的呼吁大家,希望大家能加入助养人的行列,为这群小朋友们带来一点的曙光。

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我和我的助养童见面的时候。

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我和他的合照。

这就是我在这旅途中最期待的一刻,和我的助养童会面真的非常难得。他身穿运动服,个子不小(差不多快要高过我了),我一下小巴士就认出他来了。对我而言一点都不陌生,反而还有那亲切感,但是就不懂如何的说话。平时话很多的我在那时刻真的感觉自己有点陌生,还好有世界宣明会同工的帮忙,气氛没有如此尴尬。他话也不多,有点害羞,可能第一次见我的关系吧!这一次也有机会看看他的宿舍,我也不晓得如何去形容我当时的感觉。非常简陋的宿舍,有大概十张的双层床,没有书桌,没有衣橱,有一张薄薄的床垫,床垫上有一堆的书和一个杯子,杯子里面有牙刷和牙膏。那时我只问了一句,你的其他东西呢!他回了我一句,这就是我所有的东西了。

回想有很多人生活在城市里,但每天都在抱怨,但对这小朋友来说有的上学已经很知足了。这是多么惭愧啊!虽然见面只有那短短的半个小时,但对我来说,你已更新了我人生的一页。诚心的祝福你,好好地把书念好和照顾妹妹及奶奶,我想如再有机会一定会再去看你。

最后我真的想和所有的助养人说,我知道大家都忙于自己的生活和工作,但不妨抽出一点的时间亲笔写一封信慰问一下,这对他来说是多大的鼓励啊!我知道他的回信可能要等二至三个月。但我享受期待所带来的感觉,你呢?

Wai Kit

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令人感动的时刻。

以上的这张照片是我们那一天最后探访的一个村子了。我们的小巴士已经走了好几个山头了,但村名们还在那儿晒着太阳的招手。这幕真的非常让人感动,因为他们大多数都上了年纪。我们非常的不好意思,因为他们坚持要送我们到村口,有些婆婆还背着他们的孙子。在巴士上大家都在议论纷纷在这村的学校所看到的一张纸。纸上是这样写的:

世宣会到我村行,引进资本到我村,
村里容颜变了样,建个校门古续今,
硬化教室学子好,围了龙塘人安平,
儿童健康受重视,老少和睦喜事成,
今日携手同共建,这个节目很宽心,
和和睦睦把节过,万家欢乐一家亲,
今日同过节日好,往后继续来扶贫,
扶持我村很感谢,感谢你们的恩情。

Wai Kit

马来西亚世界宣明会同工,马来西亚中国黎平助养人,中国世界宣明会同工和黎平项目办的同工们的一张道别大合照。这七天真的谢谢你们的招待,我们一定会再回来看你们。

我 喜欢这次寻找足迹之旅,也爱上了这喜欢。看到这群小朋友非常专注和开心的在玩,无忧无虑,那种感觉,一个字,帥﹗这群助养人也放下城市的压力,那种感觉, 还有另一个字能形容:棒﹗这次之行真的令我获益良多,也让我的生活经历又增添新的观感。这次之旅令我学习了许多,也更加了解世界宣明会儿童助养计划的整个过程。儿童助养计划的宗旨,在于为生活在水深火热之中的儿童及他们的家庭和社会点燃新的希望,并为他们的生活带来改变。这些资助不但能协助解决贫困孩童所面对的困难及疾病问题,还能让他 们感受到关爱及发掘本身所具备的独特潜质。真得非常感谢马来西亚世界宣明会!希望大家都能为这个社会出一份力,大家携手为这些孩子建造一个更美好的世界。

只需要一个月RM65就能助养一名儿童,写信给他们并在世界宣明会安排的探访团去探访儿童。今天就登记成为助养人吧,马上浏览www.worldvision.com.my或拨 03 7880 6414以获知更多详情。

Lee Sinje’s World Vision Visit to Bohol, The Philippines

The child gazes at this stranger in front of her.

She has strands of blondish hair and a petite frame hidden under loose clothing.  Her tiny hands rest on her lap as she sits cross-legged on the floor.

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“I’m six,” says the child. When her parents and 7-year-old brother go to the dump site close to their home to collect garbage, she cooks and takes care of her four younger siblings.

She often feels hungry as she only gets two meals a day.

I hand the child some chocolate biscuits and she eats all of them immediately.

Tears swell in my eyes but I am determined to refrain from crying in front of her.

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I am reminded of my mother’s family who was also very poor.

My grandmother had to carry two big baskets of sarong to sell at a hilltop, and every trip would last an entire week before she returned.

My then 7-year-old auntie has to wake up early every morning to cook, wash and take care of her five siblings.

“If we were hungry at night, we would mix the burnt rice in the pot with sugar water and drink it,” said my mother.

Once, my mother nearly died because my grandmother simply could not afford to take her to the doctor.

But fuelled by her optimism and strong will, my grandmother single-handedly raised all her six children.

I can still remember the times when she took me to the temple to offer alms to the monks or visit poverty-stricken families living at the hilltop. Her selfless acts of love helped her to raise and protect her family.

She is the source of my compassion for the needy today. Through her, I learn how to love the people around me, and I have seen how a selfless act of love can light up one’s life and even the world.

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This is my fourth World Vision visit, and it’s a first for my husband. We are in Philippines, a country comprising more than 7,000 islands, with a population of over 90 million. Forty-one percent of the population lives below the poverty line, earning less than US$2 a day. This means that there are more than 40 million people who suffer from hunger every day.

The sun’s radiant ray shines through the crystal-clear sea water creating a breathtaking view of the sparkling coastline.

The leaves rustle as we take each step.

Finally, we arrive at an organic farm developed by World Vision in collaboration with the local community. We put a handful of earthworms into the organic fertilizer with our bare hands and join the farmers in harvesting at the organic rice fields with our sickles. The setting sun slowly lights up the youthful smiles on the farmers’ faces.

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We decide to spend the night at a villager’s house, showering with the cold water that was carried from far away, eating the chicken the family had raise in their backyard, and sleeping in beds covered by green mosquito nets. In the dark, I can see the moonlight streaming through the wooden plank walls.

The living condition of the villagers has greatly improved with the support from World Vision. No longer are they living without electricity and water; they have started growing organic plants to increase their income and, at the same time, protect the environment; some of their children are World Vision sponsored children and they enjoy going to school.

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I am overwhelmed by the kindness and passion of the villagers. Their homes may be simple and shabby, they may not be dressed in fine clothing, but they have the ability to impart the purest kind of love that touches the bottom of my heart.

On the other hand, our lives are built around concrete homes in dazzling cities and we are pampered by so much luxury. Yet, our hearts have grown distant from each other.

We own everything. We own the whole world. But the truth is, what do we really possess?

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It is the second last day of our trip. We are at a dump site located in a suburb on Bohol Island.

The smell of rubbish which has been accumulated over the last 20 years is utterly nauseating. A group of children are playing in an abandoned dump truck. This rubbish dump is the main source of income for the community here. The adults and children wait for the dump trucks to arrive every day. Once the rubbish is unloaded from the trucks, they will proceed to scavenge for things that they can sell.

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Afterwards, we visit a poor family who makes a living by scavenging rubbish.

We follow a trail in the bushes and arrive at a shabby wooden house. It is built out of branches and boards. There is only one room.

A one year-old boy is standing in front of the house with his feet soiled with faeces. His sister, who is only six years old, immediately takes him into the house and washes his feet as soon as she spots us approaching. The boy’s other brother and sister, aged 3 and 4, are sitting by the door. Their parents and their 7-year-old brother are at the dump site collecting rubbish. The 6-year-old sister is left to look after her three younger siblings.

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I walk up to the house and sit next to the older sister. I hand out some chocolate cookies to all of them; the older sister instantly gobbles up the cookies, then she crouches and stares at the cookies left in my hand. I give her the whole packet. She takes it and eats the cookies quietly.

The children are hungry. The girl tells me she cooks them food and takes care of them every day. They only get to eat twice a day and they get hungry very often. When the children speak, their faces don’t display any expression… there is no sadness, no joy, no anger – just a faint response.

Have you ever experienced hunger? One hour, two hours… Can you imagine what it feels like to be constantly hungry every single day?

Their bodies are so thin and small but what clear, beautiful eyes and pure hearts they have! They have the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen and they speak from their heart. They should grow up being surrounded by the light of love. But here, these children endure immense suffering and hunger. They have been robbed them of their childlike nature. Every day just seems hopeless.

My heart feels as though it is being pierced with a thousand needles. I try not to cry in front of them. I remember how I prayed for hope and miracles during those sleepless nights when I was a child, and now, I am once again reminded of my childhood fears and insecurities when I look at her; I promise to love this child with all my heart.

My grandmother, my mother and my daughter have nourished my life with their love. Children are all the same – they are little angels that need to be loved and protected. When I held the child, I felt strongly about how love can be extended to others. I now understand that much joy comes from giving.

You probably never knew that with a mere RM65 a month, you can change the future of these children. You probably never realised that your heart can be so close to a child who lives hundreds of miles away from you. You probably never discovered that you have the power within you to give hope to others.

Please join me in sponsoring a child through World Vision. Together, we can create a world filled with love and abundant life.

Written by Lee Sinje, World Vision Child Sponsor
May 3, 2010

李心洁“爱让世界转动”菲律宾世界宣明会慈善探访之旅

孩子望着眼前这个陌生的我。

孩子的发丝泛黄,瘦小的身躯隐藏在宽松的衣服里,纤细的手垂在盘坐的腿上。

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孩子说她今年六岁,当爸爸妈妈和七岁的哥哥到附近的垃圾场捡垃圾时,她负责煮饭和照顾四个弟妹。

孩子说她一天吃两餐,常常觉得饥饿。

我把手中的巧克力饼干递给孩子,孩子接过去很快就把它吃光了。

泪在眼里打滚然后逆流到内心深处,我努力不让自己在孩子面前落泪。

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妈妈说她小时候家里很穷。

外婆一个人提着两个大篮子上山卖沙龙,一去就一个星期。

七岁的大阿姨一早醒来就开始煮饭,洗衣,照顾五个弟妹。

妈妈说她们晚上肚子饿时就挖焦了的饭底泡糖水吃。

外婆说有一次妈妈生病差点死掉,因为外婆没钱带她看医生。

外婆以她无比坚强乐观的超强意志力独自养大六个孩子。

外婆经常牵着我的手到庙里去供养和尚,拜访山上贫穷的家庭,用她无私的爱守护她的子子孙孙。

外婆启发了我内心的慈悲,让我学会如何去爱身边的每一个人,让我看见无私的爱如何照亮一个人的生命,照亮黑暗的世界。

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我第四次参与世界宣明会的慈善探访之旅,老公则是第一次。我们来到了菲律宾,一个由七千多个岛屿组成的国家,住着九千多万人。这里有百分之四十一的人口生活在贫穷线以下,每天收入少过两块美金,也就是每天有四千多万人承受饥饿的折磨。

灿烂阳光照耀在清澈的蓝色海面,泛起水晶般的光点。

风吹树叶的声音追逐着我们的每一个脚步。

我们来到了世界宣明会和当地社区组织一起合作开发的有机菜园,徒手抓起一把蚯蚓放到有机肥料中;我们来到了有机稻田,手握镰刀与农夫们一起收割成熟的稻米,金黄色的夕阳照在村民们纯朴的笑容。

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我们在乡下村民家里过夜,淋着从远处提回来冰凉的水,吃着他们从后院鸡寮抓来煮成的蔬菜土鸡汤,睡在绿色的蚊帐里,在黑暗里看着从木板间透进来的月光。

村民们的生活在世界宣明会的帮助下有了很大的改善。他们不再生活在无电无水的日子里;他们开始学习有机种植提高收入同时保护自然生态;他们的孩子因为成为世界宣明会的助养儿而可以每天开开心心去上学。

LSJ

与纯朴的村民们相处的时光里,我沉醉在那股被善良和热情的爱包围的温暖里。也许他们的屋子很简陋,也许他们没有华丽的衣服,但他们给予我的是最触动内心深处的那份纯洁,毫无杂质的爱,就像他们脸上的笑容。

我们生活在豪华的钢铁住宅里,生活在奢侈的物质拥抱里,生活在绚烂夺目的繁荣都市里,心与心的距离却渐行渐远。

我们拥有了所有东西,拥有了全世界,其实我们到底真正拥有了什么?

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旅程的最后第二天,我们来到了位于波和岛郊区的垃圾场。

累积了二十几年壮观的垃圾场散发出令人作呕的臭味,三个小孩在弃置的垃圾车里嬉戏。这里是附近贫穷村民赖以为生的资源,大人小孩们每天准时站在这里等候垃圾车,然后从垃圾车倒出来的垃圾堆里寻找可以变卖的东西。

LSJ

接着我们前往附近拜访其中一个以捡垃圾为生的贫穷家庭。

我的脚步跟着草丛里的小径来到了一间破旧的高脚木屋前。这是一间用树枝和木板搭起来,只有一间小房间的屋子。

一岁大的小男孩站在屋前,双脚沾满粪便。六岁的姊姊看到陌生人的到访,马上走进房间拿块布帮弟弟把粪便擦掉。另外两个介于三岁和四岁的弟弟妹妹坐在门前的角落。他们的爸妈和七岁的哥哥刚好到垃圾场去捡垃圾,留下六岁的姊姊看护三个弟妹。

LSJ

我攀上木屋,坐在姊姊身旁。我把包包里的巧克力饼干拿出来递给四个孩子。姊姊很快就把饼干吃完,然后低头望着我手中剩余的饼干。我把整包饼干都给她。她接过去,默默吃着。

孩子显然很饿,她说平时她要煮饭,照顾弟妹。她说他们一天吃两餐,常常觉得肚子饿。孩子说话时,脸上没有喜怒哀乐的表情,只有淡淡的回应。

你曾经有过饥饿的感觉吗?一个小时,两个小时…….你能体会每天饥饿的感觉吗?

孩子们的身躯是如此的瘦小,眼睛是如此的透彻,心灵是如此的纯洁。他们拥有全世界最美丽的笑容,说着最真实动人的童语。他们应该在爱的光环里成长。可是孩子瘦弱的身体却承受着巨大的痛苦,饥饿无时无刻侵袭他们所有的知觉,没有希望的明天一天一天来到。

我的心像针一样刺痛,我努力不让自己在孩子面前哭泣。我想起曾经也是孩子的自己,在无数个无助夜里时躲在黑暗被窝里默默地祈祷,祈求奇迹出现,祈求希望来到。我想起第一次见到女儿,看到她天真的灵魂里住着一个不安的恐惧,我告诉自己我要爱这个小孩,我要把所有的爱都给这个孩子。

外婆的爱,妈妈的爱,女儿的爱滋养了我的生命。所有的孩子在我心中都是一样的,都是应该被爱护的小天使。

当我握着孩子的手时,更能感受无私爱的延伸,更能明白美好世界的诞生是需要让自己幸福的同时,给予别人幸福。

也许你从来都不知道原来一个月区区六十五零吉就可以改变贫穷家庭孩子的未来,你从来都不知道原来你和远方素未谋面的孩子的心可以靠得那么近,你更从来不曾发现原来你小小的内心里住着一个可以给予别人希望的强大力量。

请加入我成为世界宣明会的儿童助养人。让我们一起来创造一个充满爱的世界,一个因为有爱而更丰盛的生命。

世界宣明会儿童助养人李心洁执笔
2010年5月3日

Day 4 – The Final Day

by Daniel Lee

Widow and her brood

Mother of 2 children, she is HIV-Positive, and just lost her husband 4 months ago. He died of the HI Virus. Right now she stays with her mother-in-law at a very small hut.

Daniel

When we visited their house, the mother-in-law showed the picture of her loving son that has just gone, and she just couldn’t control her emotion, and tears just came down from her eyes. Well maybe she really needs some time for her heart to heal.

But we are happy to see that the family is healthy and we didn’t even see any signs of complaint through their eyes, their responces, even they are staying in that small hut, even if she lives with HIV…

They seem to cope very well. The mother still able to earn a living and the children go to school as normal.

Young Couple

A 20-year old young man with both parents who have passed away cause of HIV, he’s now taking care of his grandparents, and his newly married bride.

They used to be very poor and he grew up as a child labourer in a tobacco company since he was 12. But after a year, World Vision has started to help his family. From a house that didn’t even have roof to a bricked house, he now lives comfortably and plans to start a family soon with his young wife.

Final thoughts by Daniel

Daniel

Now I can really feel that, many people in India have a lot of sad stories because of HIV/AIDS. But we are glad that the number of people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS has dropped. Many of them are taken care of by World Vision through education and regular medication.

Day 3 – Understanding the Complexities of HIV/AIDS

After a brief hiatus, we’re back to continue Daniel’s journey in India.

By Daniel Lee

HIV/AIDS Drop-in Centre

It’s a place where most of the HIV/AIDS mothers and children gather together. For them it is a safe space for them to share their experiences, get counselling and supplementary nutrition from the doctors.

The mothers shared their experiences of being neglected by the community, of their children being neglected in school; some were even chased out from their rented houses.

Through the help of this Centre, the community began to understand more about HIV, and the people living with HIV/AIDS have been accepted. And now the community treats them better, but they still wish to reach out to more HIV patients and to help as many as possible.

But I’m glad that they are coping well, I feel that they should have brought this issue to the court for being treated this way.

And they were really happy to talk to us especially the children. I guess they just want to live normal lives.

Family of 5

In a very rural area, we met Raju*, his 3 children and his old mother.

Raju is HIV-positive; his deceased wife passed away cause of HIV.

The current situation showed that he’s very sick and cannot work, while his mother is about 75, too old and frail to earn a living.

Daniel
Raju’s simple house

So the villagers work together to give them food every day, while the children were sent to a hostel for their schooling. And they are taken care by the villagers and World Vision.

Daniel
Meeting the community under a tree

Hope of a Family

Husband and wife are both HIV-Positive, with 2 daughters.

World Vision was able to provide them with better opportunities.

Both husband and wife seems to be living health lives and working as carpenters

The wife also runs a small grocery stores with a public telephone and a refrigerator. And in the future she hopes that she can afford to run a cafe with a small hotel business.

HIV/AIDS is not as simple as getting an illness and curing it with medication. The fact of the matter is, HIV/AIDS has no cure, many factors come into play to complicate the circumstances for a family and the community. Do click here to learn more about the work World Vision does in terms of HIV/AIDS.

* Raju’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.

Day 2 – Getting adjusted

By Daniel Lee

School Visit

World vision has help the primary school to level the ground, build a water pump, construct a wall for safety and security and most importantly provided school materials, food and nutrition for the children.

So that they can have place to train, especially in sports. And I felt so proud to know that, they have always been the champion among the 42 schools in the area of sports.

They performed dances for us, and it was a joy to see them sing for us, we really enjoyed that.

Daniel

The tragedy of HIV/AIDS

Just about a week ago, World Vision got to know of this 20-year old young man, taking care of his family of six = the grandpa, grandma, mother, 2 sisters and himself. The father committed suicide over the pressures of being HIV-positive and couldn’t handle the burden of taking care of the family. The mother who is also HIV-positive, is quite ill.

The family lives in 2 simple huts next to a railway station.

Daniel

And all the while, this young man worked as a hard laborer on a farm.

Right now, the situation is still not so good, but World Vision has just started to help them as they are able.

In a month’s time, World Vision will help him to open a sundry store next to the railway station. And will help to take care of his mother and the grandparents’ health, and as a first step, see that the sisters get an education.

And we feel that, at least everything will be okay for them.

Light at the end of a Tunnel

At the end of the day, we met Rehenna. She was a World Vision sponsored child for the last 13 years.

She came from a poor family, but with the help of World Vision, she was able to continue her studies, and now able to pursue her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Logistic.

We are thankful that World Vision Child Sponsors have given these children hope and success.

Conclusion of Day 2

Today, we have seen some very difficult stories, we see little children with so much energy, passion and hopes, we saw a family struggling to survive with the basics of healthcare and living in dire poverty, and we also saw a very successful child that has been blessed by World Vision.

Day 1 in India – Understanding the Situation

By Daniel Lee


Day 1

Slums in Vijayawada

We’re now visiting a slum area in Vijayawada, near the Krishna River. In the slum we could see families having this own small space of home, while the ladies are washing clothes in the river and drying it directly on the ground.

Daniel

Story of Heartbreak

Jaya*’s husband is a lorry driver that always travels for work and lives away from his family for a few months at a time. And he is HIV-positive, so the wife was also infected.

From her expressions, we could feel that she was very depressed about this matter. Before they got married, her family was proud of him and considered him a good man to marry, but when things changed, everyone held her responsible for marrying him. She was very upset at first, but had to just face it.

Well we are glad that she looks healthy and cheerful. But she’s worried about her daughter who is now only 1 and a half years old. She’s worried of one day needing to leave this world, and who will take care of her daughter?

Saree Seller

Rani*, a 20-year old girl, her parents passed away because of HIV/AIDS, and she was the one left to take care of her brother and sister. She earned money by selling sarees from house to house. The 3 of them are staying in a rented house, with a walkway to the entrance that is just about 2 feet. Every morning she wakes up, she cooks for the family, then she go out to sells the sarees for a living.

Daniel

When we asked her about her dream, she meekly says that she couldn’t afford to dream for herself, but she wishes that her brother and sister be good and study well. And maybe one day she can own her own sewing machine.

Well, we are very glad for them, and wish that they could always stay happy together.

Outskirts

A 10-year old boy Raja* who is HIV-positive lives as an orphan. His parents passed away when he was very young. The father passed away when he was 3 months old, and the mother when he was 3 years old. Right now he’s taken care by his elder sister and grandma.

We’re not sure how much he knows about HIV, but he knows that he is different from other children. However, his friends and people around him treat him as a normal child.

And when he grows up, he speaks of wanting to to be a policeman, cause he wants to help people. While the grandma just hope that he studies hard and is able to get a job that doesn’t involve hazardous work, so that he doesn’t need to work so hard.

Conclusion

After visiting these families, I actually think that they might not live in dire poverty, but being HIV-positive and losing family members has given them a very hard time.

But we are glad that they are strong enough to face it.

And thru World Vision, they are at least taken care, and educated about healthcare, especially HIV/AIDS.

Daniel

*all names have been changed to protect the identity of these people.