The story of a sponsor and her worldwide family of sponsored children.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to the Philippines!

After saying goodbye to Galuh and my Compassion Indonesia hosts, I flew overnight to the Manila. Philippines airport where I caught another flight to the island of Cebu. When I go to the airport Careen and her family were there to meet me!

Careen took me to her boarding house that she shares with her sister Jami. The room that they rent is about the size of two beds. (can you tell pink is their favorite color? : )They can’t cook in their room, so they eat most meals from the street vendors.

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Next we walked over to the university where Careen had taken classes. She had to get special permission to show us around, but our visit was approved and we got to see all of the places where she had taken classes, studied, and hung out with friends.

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Aside from my excitement in just spending time with Careen and her family, it was so neat to get to see the places where she had spent the last 5 years of her life.

After our tour of the campus it was time to head to Toledo City, the town where Careen grew up, and her family still lives. We hoped in a van-bus, and 90 minutes later we arrived.

I had been planning on staying at a hotel, but when I had searched local hotels, I could not find one with online booking. So, I just decided to go, trusting that some hotel would have space for me. Sure enough when we got there Carmen, Careen’s mom, took me to one of the local hotels where her friends worked. They had space for me and I moved my stuff into a beautiful room with AC and a private bath.

After dropping my stuff, Careen’s family took me out to the local fast food restaurant. We ate fried chicken and rice, which I learned was a very popular food in that area. We had a good time talking and visiting over the meal. I also got to learn how to eat Philippine style - silverware not needed. We used our hands to scoop up the rice and meat and dip it in a delicious sauce.

After eating they walked me back to my hotel, and I unpacked a little and tried to get ready for the next day.

Ever since I sponsored Careen I hoped and dreamed that this day would come, that I would get to travel and see her graduate and meet her family. As she approached the time of her graduation I tried to think of what would be the best way to honor her hard work and the commitment that had helped her achieve her dreams. I realized that I wanted to sponsor another child from her project and pass on the legacy to a new child.

A year before I headed to the Philippines I sponsored then 7 year old Mary Joy.

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The next day I would be traveling to the project and meeting Mary Joy for the first time. I to say I was excited was an understatement….

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Last Day In Indonesia

While I was planning my trip to Asia I knew that I would have one extra day in Indonesia. I talked with the Compassion office and arranged to meet Galuh, a Leadership Development Program student sponsored by one of my friends. Galuh lives and attends a University in a town a few hours away from the capital, so plans were made for her to fly  to the city, spend the day with me, then fly home that same night. I later learned that not only was it her first flight, but it was also the first time that she had been to the capital city!

On the day of the visit one of the Compassion hosts came and picked me up from my hotel, while the other host picked up Galuh from the airport. Both cars headed here:

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The Monas Monument.

This huge monument in the middle of the city of Jakarta was built to honor the independence and the history of the nation. (For more info click HERE)

We met down in the entryway and walked through the long, underground passage to get to the base of the monument. Inside the massive base is a cool, dimly lit room with display cases showing the history of Indonesia. We walked past all the exhibits, looking at the dioramas and reading about the people and events of the past.

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I had known from talking with my friend that Galuh was studying English Literature at her university and that she wrote very well in English. As we walked around the museum we slowly got to know each other. Galuh was nervous about using spoken English, but with some prompting from the hosts we shared stories.

One of the things she told me was the story of Kartini, an Indonesian woman who was instrumental in gaining the right for women to have an education. Galuh said that while she was growing up the school children always celebrated a special day in her honor. She and her friends would go to school dressed up either in the traditional clothing, like Kartini herself had worn, or in a costume that represented the profession they wanted to have when they grew up. 

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Once we made it around the museum, we went up on top of the platform. We wanted to ride the elevator that took people to the very top of the monument. 

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That meant waiting in a VERY long line…

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While we waited I pulled out the photo album that Galuh’s sponsor had sent.

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She enjoyed seeing all of the photos and getting to know them all a little better.

At the front of the line we stopped and admired the intricately carved wooden doors. Apparently Galuh’s father also does this kind of work.

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Finally we made it all the way to the top.

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The view was incredible!

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After spending some time at the top we headed back to the car and went to a traditional Indonesian restaurant for lunch.

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Galuh got soup and a fruit juice…

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And I ordered beef stew and a chocolate avocado smoothie.

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Galuh had a gift for me to take home to her sponsor

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And she also had a gift for me.

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When we finished eating we went to a nearby mall to look at some of the traditional Indonesian batiks and hand crafts. Galuh’s dad makes this type of shadow puppets and uses them to tell the traditional stories. Each character has a name and a story, but Galuh said that she cannot remember them all : )

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Before long it was time to head back to the airport so that Galuh and I could catch our flights. While we drove through the congested streets of Jakarta I got to give Galuh the letter and gifts that her sponsor had sent along for her.

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She was so excited to see each item but she was probably most excited about the gift that was not even there. I got to tell her that her sponsor was sending a donation through Compassion so that she could get her very own laptop!

We got to the airport a little early, so we sat to have coffee, and talk a little more. Finally though, it was time for Galuh to go through security and catch her flight. We gave each other a big hug and I promised to share all of the photos and videos with her sponsor.

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A few minutes later it was time for me to go through those same doors. I said goodbye to ChooChoo and Tira, my translators and hosts for my time in Indonesia, and we took one final photo. They had done an amazing job of coordinating the visit, translating, and taking lots of pictures. My time with Uli and Galuh would not have been possible without their help.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saying Goodbye…

After spending the whole day with Uli and her family at the theme park, we headed back to their home to say goodbye. It was so hard to leave and there were tears all around.

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Uli’s mother shared how much it meant for me to be Uli’s sponsor and to come and visit them after all theses years. She also shared some of the challenges that her family faces, and we spent time praying for each other.

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After a long goodbye we took one final photo together.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the church to speak with the project workers

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These are some of the church members who make it possible for me to sponsor my Uli. Their hard work and dedication to brining these kids to the Lord is an inspiration. As hard as it was to know that I had just said goodbye to Uli, I knew that I had left her in good hands.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Uli Visit Day #2


On the second visit day my Compassion hosts picked me up and we went to the project to wait for Uli and her family.

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When Uli showed up she was wearing the shirt I had given her the day before.

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The sisters liked my braids, so while we were waiting I braided their hair.

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Before heading out for the day we went to the local convenience store and bought groceries for the family. ChooChoo, the Compassion host, helped us pick out the basic staples, then Uli filled up another basket with special treats. Most of it was chocolate : )

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We walked back to the project and said hello to a few of the kids who were gathering for the activities that morning.

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We headed out soon after that and before too long we arrived at our destination.

Dufan Theme Park.

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The girls had never been to a theme park before and they wanted to try everything!

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The first part of the park was an old west town.

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We went through the tilt house…

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…and through the house of mirrors…

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Next we went to what was probably the girls’ favorite part of all. The “It’s a Small World” ride.

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While we were inside I let the girls have my camera and they took about a million photos!

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Then we tried out a roller coaster.

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And had lunch in the park

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Uli was not sure she wanted to ride the swinging boat, but she was really brave and rode it twice!

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We went on the Ferris Wheel and again, Uli was not quite sure she wanted to go. But we got her on and she kept her eyes open almost the whole time!

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Bumper cars were also a big hit

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Next we tried out the 4D theater. We had to wait in a long line in the hot sun, but it was fun to watch the penguin movie. The seats moved in sync with the movie and it felt like we were chasing the penguins!

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We also rode the swings.

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Esther and Uli really wanted to ride this spinning ride. I went along with them, but by the end none of our stomachs were too happy…

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After spinning like crazy we decided to escape the midday sun by getting some ice cream and heading to the water rides.

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Mona, Uli’s oldest sister, was my language buddy. She taught me Bahasa Indonesia words all day long. (I was not a very good student).

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The first water ride that we rode was a big raft that floated down the rapids. We did not bring the camera with us on the ride, but we made sure to take a picture afterwards…

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Oh, and I did learn one Indonesian phrase from Mona that I still remember.

Saya basah

I am wet

For our final ride we rode the log ride.

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On our way out of the park the girls had fun taking photos of each other.

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We had an amazing day together riding the rides and getting to know each other better. The Compassion hosts did a great job of translating and in addition to the Indonesian language lessons, the girls and I figured out how to talk with smiles and lots of pointing. We had a few more hours together as we rode back home and said goodbye. But I will write about that later on.