Saturday, October 22, 2011

Care package for a sponsored child

A long time ago, I used to post pictures of our gift packets to Kija (my son Jake's sponsored child through World Vision.) It's been awhile since I've mentioned it, so thought it might be about time. :) If you are in the business of sending small care packages, perhaps you could leave a link or inspire us with some new ideas in the comment box.

I have a few governing thoughts regarding sending care packages to a small girl in Tanzania. Here they are:

*While I'd love to send her the world - World Vision has package size restrictions. Everything needs to fit into a 5x9 manilla envelope.

*Given that small parameter, I still try to find things that are "sharable." Kija is one of 5 children, and I like to keep it community based. This time, I only sent twistable crayons (won't break as easily, I hope,) a notepad (with tear out pages to share) and a pack of gum. Christmas is coming, and soon we will send another package - but this time we drew pictures and wrote letters. Nothing grand - just enough to let her family know that we are thinking of her.

*In that vein, I try to think of the interpreters, and make the letters fairly easy as they do written translation.

*I'd love to send a package a month - but do not want to overwhelm the staff. I usually keep it to 3or 4 a year. 

*I alternate simple packages with more elaborate. 

*I like to include something for the mama or dad - maybe a little sewing kit with thread and needles.  When you live in a mud hut, even the tiniest things are luxuries you aren't likely to afford.

*Often, the gifts are handmade. Some ideas are: a knitted cap, a new cotton dress (easy to hand-wash with non-wrinkling, fast-drying material,) a hand-made drawstring bag to keep things in, felt dolls. Last year I made her an entire family of felt dolls, with different sizes to represent each member of her family. The dad/boy dolls had different colored shirts/pants/shoes and a matching blanket for a bed. The mom/girl dolls wore embroidered dresses of differing colors. They, too had a matching bedroll. The mama wore the baby in a sling. They were so little, with the mom and dad around 4 inches tall and the baby only 1 inch tall. They all fit in the envelope, with a little room for some candy too. I like to imagine her and her sisters playing with the little dolls, sticking one in their pocket. (Yes, Jake's her sponsor, but we all love getting a package together for her. He's a 19 year old boy....)

*This year, my mother and I are making pillowcase type dolls (around 15 inches long) for Kija's entire village. I think that I will make her a new dress as well. We are also hoping to begin some sewing projects (simple little girl dresses/aprons for workers, they even need blankets for burying babies who have died - that is a sad work but what a beautiful way to minister - I think I want to do that) for Real Hope for Haiti. I'll try to post some pictures as we go along.

We recently received a picture and an update on Kija. She had grown much taller, but was much thinner too. Even though she wore a "fancy" dress, it was torn a bit and her skin was dusty. I hope that our gifts bring a little smile to her face - even for a small while. I always tell her that God loves her and that we do too, and that we are praying for her.

I wonder what God is going to do thru child sponsorship, in Kija's lives, and in ours? How will the world be different - because of it - in twenty years?

I am hopeful....
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  1. thank you for the ideas! we just started sponsoring three little girls from the dominican republic and the girls are quite anxious to send them a package but I wasn't having a good vision of where to start. I am already in love with these new additions to our family and wish we would have started years ago. I too am excited to see how we are all made different.

  2. That is so wonderful, and exciting, Tiffany! They will become like family, I think.

    It's no exaggeration to say that we love Kija and her whole family. It really is a relationship. We're so excited, because Emily has a job now, and she is going to start sponsoring a child soon. She's in the process of choosing - she's thinking she'll maybe choose an older child? She's asked her dad to share a sponsorship - so we're excited about that. I like to offer a "safety net" for my older kids in the event that their job fails or they go to college and need some help meeting their commitments - we will help them.

  3. That's really great that you help with the safety net. I tried sponsoring a child when I was in high school but then my family moved and my part time job did not. I felt so terrible about having to stop my sponsorship, but they were very understanding.

    While it felt a little weird to do, I picked the girls we are sponsoring by birth date. (It felt a bit too much like online shopping I have to confess....) But we have three little girls from the same town who all have the same birthdays as my girls. I thought it would help our little ones who have so little concept of what life is like elsewhere to immediately connect with them. And they really have.

  4. You are so thoughtful and caring. :)