This is Ilderson. He is the child my family sponsors in Haiti. It is weird how much he looks like me.
It has been three years since we started sponsoring him and I will admit I was nervous about meeting him.
You want so badly to say something that will have a profound impact on his life and to make this a day he will never forget. I don’t know about the profound, but I am sure he will remember me. One of the toys we brought him, that seemed so cool, scarred him 5 minutes after we gave it to him.
I wanted more that anything for him to know that he is loved and that he matters, not only to us, but to God. Ilderson’s dad was killed six years ago and he, his mother, and sister have been alone ever since. It was crazy how protective I instantly became for him. I wanted to make sure he was OK and keep anything bad from happening to him. I know we had just met, but he felt like my son.
We wanted to give him the kind of day he would never be able to have on his own. It started with a bus ride, fruit snacks and skittles, and ended at a beautiful beach. He could not get enough of the fruit snacks, and like a good father I made sure to give him the last one, even though it was my favorite flavor.
We ate lunch at an all you can eat buffet. I am sure he had never seen this much food at one time and he could not believe he could keep getting more. This 80 pound kid can eat. He had two full plates of meat and fish and he knew not to fill up on the bread. He definitely got his money’s worth.
I am probably the worst sponsor in the world because even after eating that huge meal, I didn’t make him wait 30 minutes before swimming.
Ilderson got a little Lego love of his own.
It was fun to give him more gifts in one day than he has received in all of his 10 years up to this point.
Today was so great that I knew saying good bye would be tough, and it was. I think what made it so bad was that we shared this one moment that I know we will both remember forever, but tomorrow each of us will return to our normal lives. I will wake up to my life of ease and excess, and he will wake up still a poor kid in Haiti. I do take comfort in knowing that he is better off than most because of our sponsorship which would not be the case without Compassion.