I was blessed to get to attend an event this weekend to fill me up as I’m home, an event for women to come together and be built up. This conference is a partner of WorldVision, the most common organization associated with child sponsorship. They’ve been around for years, their profile folders now include a short video of your child, and it seems like they’ve got it all together.
It’s an organization like this that I think of when we have the hard days in Bercy (Haiti), trying to get facts from kids or organize a program in a school that runs so differently than our minds can process through our North American filters.
On the days where I try over and over again to re-word a key question for profiles of children in order to get the answer we are looking for….but every time, the answer is the same.
You see, for months I have wondered what an organization like WorldVision does for this certain question – do they make up a cute answer? Do they have multiple choice for the kids? Are they more culturally competent, with the secret phrase that holds the key to getting an answer?
And then I opened a folder for a little girl from Haiti over the weekend. No older than six, she didn’t look the happiest in her picture but from experience I know that this happens often even with the giggliest of children as they get serious in photos we take.
And in her folder, I saw a sentence that made me simultaneously laugh and sigh in relief.
“She likes to help clean in the household.”
You see, this is the exact issue I have in Haiti! To the question “what are your hobbies”, I get the answers “sweeping”, “cooking”, and “dishes”! I have been discouraged, confused, and stretching to find the right string of words to get a new answer with no luck – and now I see I am not the only one! You can’t help but laugh at the thought of a six year old little girl thinking of her favorite way to spend her time, or at the least what she does most often with her time, and honestly responding “helping in the house”.
And then I was getting ready a day later and a completely different realization hit me. For CPR-3, WorldVision, all of us trying to pull this first world concept of “hobbies” from children who still have not learned to write their own letters back to sponsors…we all get this answer.
For thousands of children in Haiti, and who knows where else that I am simply not aware of, household chores are what the day consists of and the closest thing they relate to a “hobby”.
Wow, ouch, no more laugh and sigh of relief at the not-so-gentle punch of humility to the stomach at this.
Here we are, coveting our friends who are somehow perfecting each idea we pinned to our “If I ever have the time” board & living in the midst of a culture where sitting for hours in front of a screen is the usual hobby – while a hobby doesn’t really exist in a country where you spend two hours of it just fetching the water to get the basic chores done & your time in between “helping around the house” is spent simply sitting together, playing jacks with the smoothest rocks, or playing with an old tire.
Even for a six year old.
We would never put it this way, but hobbies really are such a first world thing. Skills and interests is a different matter – but the freedom, ability, and resources to use free time for scrapbooking, crafting, trying new recipes, putting together fantasy football teams, being “social” with Xbox Live friends…?
Hobbies are just another thing I am realizing we should be thankful for, though we don’t even realize it and may even complain or feel we “don’t have enough” in this area – like so many others.
CPR-3 has an active child sponsorship program for kiddos in Bercy & Los Cahobas, a community in the mountains near the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Comment or e-mail me and I can connect you with our sponsorship coordinator. As I have been letting you know the past few months, I am looking for financial partnership as I have committed five more years to Haiti. I am officially under $20,000 to go for the first year and it is SO simple to give through cpr-3.com/give (Just enter Movement Partner & type in ‘Stephanie Taylor’). Please join in prayer partnership with me if you are interested as well!