Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Christmas DP Received: Dianne!

A lovely surprise awaited me in my mailbox today: one of those beloved CI envelopes, stuffed with a letter and photos of Dianne! As you may recall, my child Hazel abruptly left the program in early December. Shortly thereafter, the DP I had sent to her for Christmas arrived at her SAO and Debbie asked me what I would like done with it. I inquired if it could be transferred to my new child, Dianne, and Debbie forwarded the request. That was the last I heard of it ... until today!

I hope the fact that the package and the enclosed card were addressed to Hazel wasn't confusing or traumatic for her -- hopefully, someone was able to gently explain why she was receiving gifts originally intended for someone else. I see that there is a note attached to the outside of the package, though I can't read what it says.

The enclosed report says that the package arrived at the SAO on December 14th--I'm not sure if that's when it arrived at Hazel's SAO or Dianne's, since they are at different ones--and she picked it up on January 16th, so she'll have to wait a bit to really enjoy some of the Christmas items!

Her thank-you letter says:

Dear Ms. Shannon Dillon,

Mabuhay! How are you? I hope you are fine.

I am very grateful for the wonderful gifts you sent me. I am very fortunate to be your sponsored child. I am surprised but I am happy. Now, I have my own calculator, comb, hairbrush, card, toothbrush, ball pens, magic towels and so many more.

Again, thank you very much. May God bless you and your family always!

With love and care,
Dianne Alexis

She's very sweet, and her spelling and grammar are great! But the most heart-melting part of the whole letter is what she drew at the bottom--a heart, with the words "I love you Ms. Dillon" written inside!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Putting Together a Package

Since December, I have been storing up a collection of Hello Kitty items for a Direct Package for Jasmin. I had originally intended to wait until her birthday to send it, but now I'm thinking I may send it in late May, so that it arrives in time to be a special back-to-school gift! I know that in the U.S. most kids get new clothes for a new school year, and various accessories as well, so I thought it would be fun to treat Jasmin to this too!

So far, I've got two tee-shirts and a skirt, a nightgown, washcloths, hair ties, bracelets, a pencil pouch, an activity kit, a coloring book, stickers, a water bottle, and a fork-and-spoon set. I had been planning to add some more to it, but it barely fits into the padded envelope as is! It weighs a ton, too. I'm going to have to tape it up real well, to make sure it arrives in one piece.

I can't wait to see the pictures! It will be hard, waiting until May to send it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Two Letters Today ... Again!

I'm on a roll this week! When I checked my mailbox before work today, I found the welcome kit for Jessica AND an envelope with the CWs from Cindy and Sandy, my Guatemalan twins! Both letters were written by the girls' aunt Alicia.

Sandy's letter says:

Estimada Padrina,

Ms. Dillon Sandy Fabiola le saluda con carino. Le cuenta que esta muy horguyosa con su familia. Ella le cuenta que esta muy bien de su salud. Ella esta muy feliz de ir en la escuela por su primer grado que va ir este ano. Le mando muchos abrazos por aberla apadrinada. Se lo agradesa mucho. Ahora esta muy feliz con usted por aberme elejida como su aheijada. La agradese mucho a usted padrina por aberme elejida. Esta agradecida con usted. Le mando muchos abrazos y un saludo.

Alicia Veronica
Soy tia de Sandy Fabiola

Translation (mine, not CI's):

Esteemed Sponsor,

Ms. Dillon Sandy Fabiola greets you with love. She tells you that she is very proud with her family. She tells you that she is in good health. She is very joyful to go to school for her first grade that she will go this year. I send you many hugs for having sponsored her. She is very grateful for it. Now she is very joyful with you for having selected her as your sponsored child. She thanks you alot Sponsor for having selected her. She is grateful to you. She sends you many hugs and a greeting.

Alicia Veronica
I am the aunt of Sandy Fabiola

What a grateful letter! I don't think I've ever been so profusely thanked before! I am happy to know that she is going to attend first grade this year.

Cindy's letter is, unsurprisingly, similar:

Estimada Padrina,

Ms. Dillon Cindy Fabiola la saluda con carino. Le cuenta que esta muy bien con su familia. Quiere agradeser mucho por aberla aseptado como su aheijada. Ella esta muy contenta de recibir su carino y su ayuda. Cindy le cuenta que ella va en la escuela en su primer grado. Ella esta muy feliz por aberla aceptado. Ella esta muy horgullosa. Ella agradece mucho por aber empadrana. Se ciente muy feliz. Le manda un habrazo.

Alicia Veronica
Soy tia de Cindy Fabiola

My translation:

Esteemed Sponsor,

Ms. Dillon Cindy Fabiola greets you with love. She tells you that she is very well with her family. She wants to thank you a lot for having accepted her as your sponsored child. She is very happy to receive your love and your help. Cindy tells you that she goes to school in her first grade. She is very joyful that you have accepted her. She is very proud. She thanks you a lot for having sponsored her. She feels very joyful. She sends you a hug.

Alicia Veronica
I am the aunt of Cindy Fabiola

Again, the gratefulness just spills off the page!

On the back of both letters, I have learned that the area where they live has churches, schools, forests and rivers, but no volcanoes (thankfully!). They both like a wide variety of fruits, and they celebrate birthdays and Christmas.

Looks like I'll be spending my days off writing back to all my wonderful girls!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Two Letters Today!

At last, my CW from Anna Marie has arrived! She writes:

Dear Ms. Dillon,

Hi! A pleasant day! Welcome to the Children International family! I am Anna Marie. I'm 16 years old. My favorite color are blue, black, pink. For me these are my lucky colors. My favorite subject are math, livelihood education, science and I'm happy because I'm graduating this year.

My favorite hobby's reading books. It's my pasttime. I spend most of my day in school. About my family, I have two brothers, one sister and my parents are simple yet kind and loving to us. They are the people who take care of us. I describe myself as a loving person, cheerful and generous, and also love pets.

These are some of the things about me. Thank you for sponsoring me. May God shower you with many blessings.

Sincerely yours,
Anna Marie

Awwww! "Welcome to the Children International family"--that's awesome! I'm happy that she told me her favorite colors--I can crochet her a blanket! I wonder what "livelihood education" is? She is graduating this year--I had been wondering if the changes in the Philippine school system would affect her. Apparently not.

I also received a CR from Jasmin, written by her older sister Louvie:

Dear Ms. Dillon,

Good day! How are you? I hope you and your family is in good condition.

On behalf of Jasmin Jane, my little sister, I'm her sister Louvie writing to you.

Christmas is near! Jasmin would like to greet you an advance merry merry Christmas and also a happy happy New Year! She's so excited for the Christmas day. She loves watching the glowing Christmas lights. She always wear Santa hat and she's fun of singing Christmas songs. She can't wait for the Christmas gifts she will receive. Jasmin loves Christmas!

We wish you a happy and a Merry Christmas!

With Big Hugs,

I love that Jasmin loves Christmas as much as I do! I remember my own childhood joy at driving through our neighborhood, looking at all the lights. And I love that she signed the letter, "With Big Hugs."

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Did It Again!

I recently received my three-year raise at work. I knew it was coming--I had already increased my "limit" number of sponsored children accordingly. However, it was almost TRIPLE the amount I expected! So I've increased my limit again, to a total of fifteen children (2 group-sponsored, 13 individual). I already had eleven individual sponsorships, so I'm being very careful and taking my time filling the last two slots.

Today, I was browsing through the waiting children for another Spotlight blog when I ran across Jessica from Ecuador. She speaks Quichua in addition to Spanish--one of the things I've been keeping an eye out for! I am excited to add her to my Sponsorship family! She's seven years old and lives with her parents, who are both street vendors. She is an only child. The family's home consists of one multi-use room, with a wooden roof and concrete walls and floor. They cook on a gas stove, and are fortunate to have running water, regulated electricity and a toilet. Jessica attends school, where her favorite subjects are Art, Math and Grammar.

I can't wait to write to her!

Spotlight Children of the Week, 2/4/2013

There were four indigenous children when I browsed through the waiting list this afternoon, however only three are featured here. Stay tuned for details on the fourth child!

This is three-year-old Damaris from Guatemala. She lives with her parents and one sibling on only $78 per month. The family's native language is Cakchiquel, but she also speaks Spanish. They are fortunate to have running water in their concrete and corrugated metal home, but their electricity is unregulated. Damaris is too young to attend school. She enjoys playing with dolls.

Nine-year-old Namukolo has been waiting for a Sponsor for almost three years! She lives with her parents and four siblings in a concrete and corrugated metal house in Zambia, and she does attend school. The family struggles to survive on only $80 per month. Electricity is available in her community, and her family gets their water from a community pump. In addition to Nyanja, Namukolo and her family speak Lozi. 

Seven-year-old Doris Marisol lives with her parents and two siblings in Guatemala. Her home has adobe walls and a dirt floor. They are fortunate to have regulated electricity, but they must get their water from a neighbor's faucet. Doris does attend school, and she speaks Spanish in addition to her native Cackchiquel. She enjoys playing with dolls and running.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Letters from Yojana and Dianne

I found one of those beloved Children International envelopes in my mailbox today! Inside were two letters:  a CW from Dianne and a CP from Yojana.

Dear Ms. Dillon,

A very pleasant day to you!

My name is Dianne Alexis, but my friends and family also called me "Dianne" as my nickname. I am 9 years old, grade 4. Orange is my favorite color. I love to eat pork Adobo. Language and English are my favorite subjects. Watching TV is my hobby. Dancing is my talent. I want to be a professional teacher someday.

Thank you for choosing me as my sponsor.

Hugs and kisses,
Dianne Alexis

Lots of good information in her first letter! Her favorite color is orange ... just like Hazel's was. What a neat coincidence. I love that English is one of her favorite subjects!

Saludos querida Shannon

Querida madrina le cuento que estoy muy vien de salud alado de toda de mi familia. Espero de que usted este my vien de salud alado de su familia y de su novio tambien. Le cuento de que ya paso unas semanas de el dia de los santos y estubo muy alegre porque convibi muy alegre con mi familia. En estos dias estoy de vacaciones y estoy muy alegre y feliz porque gane el grado de tercero basico. Le contare un poco sobre mi estudio. Me gusta jugar basquetbool con mis amigas y la materia que mas me gusta es exprecian artistica porque me gusta divujar y pintar y mis maestras son muy divertidos. Despues de graduarme me gustaria segir estudiando y ayudando a mi famylia. My ciudad es muy alegre porque ay muchos arboles y pajaros al escuchar. El sonido es muy alegre y estar rodeado de muchas cosa tambien. Faltan unas cemanas para que llege la navidad. Estoy muy agradecida por esbribirme y mandarme su foto y de sus ermanas. Ay me las saluda y tamvien a su novio. Me despido de usted con vesas y abrazo con todo su familia.

Se despide con carino,
Yojana Aracely

Translation (mine, not CI's):

Greetings dear Shannon

Dear sponsor I tell you that I am very well of health along with all of my family. I hope that you are very well of health along with your family and your boyfriend too. I tell you that a few weeks ago was the Day of the Saints and I was very cheerful because I shared cheerfully with my family. These days I am on vacation and I am very cheerful and happy because I passed the third basic grade (9th grade). I will tell you a little about my study. I like to play basketball with my (female) friends and the subject I like the most is Artistic Expression because I like to draw and to paint and my teachers are very fun. After I graduate I would like to continue studying and helping my family. My city is very cheerful because there are many trees and birds to listen to. The sound is very cheerful and to be surrounded by many things is too. In a few weeks Christmas will arrive. I am very thankful for writing to me and sending me your photo and (photo of) your sisters. Greet them for me and also your boyfriend. I say goodby with kisses and hugs with all your family.

I say goodbye with love,

Such a cheerful letter! I am so glad that she wants to continue studying -- hopefully, I will be able to raise funds to help her pay for either college or technical training. I shot myself in the foot somewhat in that area--Yojana and Anna Marie will likely have college expenses at the same time, which will be costly! It's so worth it, though!