This photo is the first we received after beginning sponsorship in fall 2003. The picture had been cropped to show only two-year-old Wellington and it was this b&w photo that I saw on the Plan USA website when I searched for a child to sponsor. Love at first sight doesn't come close to what I felt when I saw his face and that hair!
The uncropped version pictures Wellington and his young mother, Janeth, who is my contact for the family. Janeth seems like a daughter to me and I'm so proud of how she has blossomed as a community volunteer for Plan in the past few years. I've written to her many times that she is an artist and have praised her whimsical hand-crafted greeting cards splashed with color and glitter. She writes with flair and her thoughts are well organized (the letters are translated but we always receive her original composition). I also compliment her on being such a good mother to Wellington and Lady, Wellington's older sister. Janeth proudly thanks me for saying these things. Truth is, she's a rock. Her husband, Jonny, works as a construction worker in a larger city away from their village and she doesn't seem to miss a beat attending to everything in his absence.
The second photo is our latest from them, displaying beautiful maturing and exciting growth.
Their small home is made of concrete blocks with a corrugated asbestos roof, and it is loaned rent free. When our sponsorship began the family didn't have their own latrine and they used an open field or public area for their needs. Since then they have been given a private latrine, evidence of improved conditions.
Both Wellington and Lady attend primary school and are sports-oriented. Religion is a key factor in this family's life and Janeth was eager to write me about Lady's upcoming confirmation last year. There's a monastery four miles from our home and I asked for assistance at the gift shop for a sweet simple remembrance for Lady. We always send her a Christmas gift along with Wellington's. Being one who is extremely concerned about overpopulation, I find it refreshing that (so far, anyway) this family remains small. The other two children we've sponsored were from large families, making it unfeasible for me to shop for all of children for their special holidays.
The names of the children fascinated me and I wrote to Janeth asking how they came up with Lady and Wellington. My question was lost in translation and Janeth responded that she and Jonny named their children. Oh well. It was to remain a mystery until this week when Honour commented after my last post with this tidbit: "Look forward to hearing about Wellington (I love the names they pick in that area of the world, when I worked in Peru - I came across beautiful baby boys named Edson and Carrington ..."
My file for Wellington is inches thick and I'll start a second one soon. Unless Jonny and Janeth move their family to a community outside of Plan's coverage we will be a part of their lives for years to come. Because of that we do hope that we will someday be able to visit. The organization works to arrange field visits for sponsors and has a strict policy in place that stipulates:
All visits must be arranged through our office at Plan USA. Preparing your visit requires careful planning by Plan staff both here in the US and in the field office. For the protection of the children in our programs, we require all visitors (18 years and older) who are visiting the field to read and sign our Child Protection Standards and to undergo a background check.
I loved this written piece by a Plan USA sponsor after her visit to Indonesia to visit her sponsored child. In addition to this story the website includes five other moving stories written by sponsors about their field visits. Yes, it would be the trip of a lifetime to meet Wellington and his family but even if that never happens we have mini-vacations each time a letter from Janeth arrives and simply opening Wellington's file is a tour of the heart.