Almost 10 years ago Amy, a World Vision child sponsor, lived in Tanzania and fell in love with the country. Last month she returned to visit her sponsored child, Maria and below, she shares about this special day.
I was a volunteer teaching young primary school children in Tanzania many years ago. When I left I desperately wanted to help a number of the children who were living in very difficult situations, but I just couldn't find a secure and sustainable way to do it.
So I turned to World Vision as an alternative way to safely donate to improve the life of a child and her community. By chance my sponsored child was a 3 year old girl from central Tanzania - Maria.
I've been sponsoring Maria for nine years now, and have wanted to visit her for such a long time. Luckily I was able to travel to Tanzania for work and World Vision made it possible for me to visit Maria at very short notice. Katie and the team at HQ were amazing and they helped with my travel itinerary, hotel, car & driver.
The wonderful Area Coordinator, Fabian, picked me up from the Dodoma airport with Emmanuel, the very friendly driver. Between them they have over 40 years of experience working for World Vision! We travelled overland for 5 hours, stopping at the local office in Singida to meet the team and sign some paperwork. I was able to see where my cards & notes to Maria are translated & printed!
We then drove to the Kisiriri office to pick up Florian and Maria and have lunch. Florian is the Sponsorship Coordinator and Maria is a Sponsorship assistant. Funily enough, she is the one that visits Maria on a regular basis, speaks Maria's mother tongue and reports back to the office on Maria's progress and her family's welfare. The whole team were welcoming, friendly and hugely knowledgeable.
The 5 of us then set off to Maria's home, which was on the outskirts of the village and in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbours. I was excited and nervous on the way.
When I saw Maria's house it brought tears to my eyes.
Maria lives with her mother Pili, father Bernard, and siblings. The family live in a traditional 'Tembe' mud-brick home, built by Bernard. They scrape by on less than $1USD per day, making a living out of farming & a few chickens/goats.
The whole family was shy at first but regardless they had a lot of fun laughing at my attempts to speak Swahili!
Maria had my photo & cards that I have sent her over the years, which was so heart warming to see. I took photos & cards received from her, along with photos of my family, house & home town. We discussed our families, work, cultures, food and so much more. Maria wants to be a teacher when she's older and is doing well at school.
I said 'tutaonana' which means 'see you again' in Swahili - but it's not a goodbye.