The most profound moment of the week came unexpectedly one day when our friend John knocked at the door. The whole orphanage was quiet as my parents and I were enjoying the rare solace found only on Sunday afternoons. Being Catholic, we always arrive home from Mass for a restful hour before all of the children return from their own church service. Nevertheless, John asked us to join him outside with our cameras! We were told that once the bus of children arrived home from church, he needed us to take photos of each child for Mogra’s sponsorship program. I was instantly excited because the more I was informed about this program, the more I saw it as my chance to be able to continue helping this special place after I leave.
The children poured off the bus beaming with excitement, each one dressed in their Sunday best. As I followed them down the hill watching them skipping and laughing, I was surprised at how eager they were to have their pictures “professionally” taken. Most kids I know groan at the thought of having to stop playing in order to pose for a picture. After giving it more thought, I realized what these specific photos must mean to them; getting their pictures taken and uploaded to the website is their first step in possibly earning themselves a sponsor. As I know from conversations with the older children, with a sponsor—they have a chance.
As I took each photo I felt that I got a quick glimpse into the personalities of each child. Some swung out their hips to pose with attitude; others fumbled with their hands and smiled at the ground-too shy to look into the camera. As each one stepped up for their turn I thought about how special each of them uniquely were and hoped they knew it! Some of them I’ve come to know well through my daily work in the preschool or after-school chats in homework hall. Some of them I’d realized, I still hadn’t even gotten the chance to introduce myself to yet! After we finished and started making our way back up the hill pleased with our accomplishment, we saw the bus returning with a second load of kids. Not done yet! Time for Round 2! I was once again struck by the vast number of kids living at Mogra!
Later, as I sorted through the hundreds of pictures of happy, smiling, hopeful kids on my computer I felt saddened by the thought that they have no one that looks out specifically just for them. They have no one who can pick them out of a crowd of 320 kids and say “That one is mine!” It is heartbreaking as I see how much they crave that love. Through the weeks here I’ve been touched by the earnest smiles on the preschool students’ faces every time they get the chance to work alone with me or the teacher. Every day I am surprised to find how peaceful and content a 2-year-old baby can be just sitting on my lap tightly hugging me for 30 minutes nonstop. I’ve been overwhelmed by the outstretched hands of 6 toddlers at my knees pleading “Me! Me!” begging for it to be their turn for me to hold them even for just 10 seconds. I’ve been struck by the sight of 7th grade students bouncing in their chairs with excitement as I approach their table in the dining hall, anxiously awaiting to settle in while I read them a story. We’ve been told time and again that the children are so happy when visitors come to Mogra because it helps them realize, they are not alone.
It is for all of these reasons that I was so excited to learn about their sponsorship program and thought I should spread the word! The founder, Hannah, tells us that the whole Mogra Organization (the school and orphanage) has survived financially by the grace of God and I want so badly to be able to help God, help them. When they asked me if I could think of anyone else who would be interested in the opportunity to sponsor I couldn’t help but think of all of the amazing people I know back home, especially the special school I am so fortunate to be a part of. This sponsorship program offers a tangible, honest, and personal way to help really amazing kids. My heart warms just thinking of the genuine, ecstatic smiles that we could bring to the faces of these kids when they find out they’ve been sponsored.
To give you a little bit of information (more will be coming): If willing, families can go on to the sponsorship website and see pictures and read stories of all of the children who still need to be sponsored (there are only 30 kids who have already found sponsors). Once they decide on a child to sponsor they are asked to pay a monthly donation of $50. We have been overly assured that every penny (apart from any PayPal fees) goes directly toward the care expenses of that child. After, they will receive a sponsorship package with more information on the child they chose and the program itself. From there, they will continue to receive regular updates on the child and also be able to correspond with pictures and letters. It was also mentioned that sponsors could feel welcome to visit Mogra if they are ever in Kenya!
A few people back home have reached out to me wanting me to let them know if I came across any way they could help. Those conversations alone make me hopeful as I would be more than grateful to find even just a few people willing to sponsor. Please know there is absolutely no pressure, sponsoring a child is a long-term commitment. Everyone has different causes they are passionate about, ways they are already contributing, and varying financial obligations they are dealing with. I wanted only to make everyone aware of this opportunity and the amazing impact our help can have!