Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Waiting for this day for 7 years

Austin got the opportunity to meet his sponsor child of 7 years in Uganda this past March. Here are his thoughts of first meeting the boy he'll never forget:

Very few people ever get to meet their sponsor child and as a matter of fact not many even get the chance to sponsor one. Yesterday was a day beyond words. I know that for 7 years I have dreamed of that day. A day when I got to touch the hands of someone I knew but had never seen. Driving that morning was very exciting. Being there in Uganda but, never knowing when I would get to actually meet Ignatious. My heart was pounding with joy as we left the hotel in the morning. We made about an hour drive to the ADP office. Everyone slept in the car. Everyone but me. I could not. I described it as a little kid on Christmas Eve just waiting till the morning. What was on that path would change our family's life forever. We drove maybe about another hour down a bumpy dirt road. We thought that we were going to go to Ignatious' house first but when we stopped the van we could tell it wasn't his house. I got out and greeted a little boy and asked him if he was Ignatious. He looked at me funny and then ran off.

A girl came out in a dress. She greeted us. Then we got it. The girl was Brittany's (my sister) sponsor child. We talked and they exchanged gifts. I will never forget how shy Britt and Scovia (her sponsor child) were. They seemed to just hug each other, a lot. Brittany just wore a huge smile and you could tell both were extremely happy.

After visiting a school and playing soccer with the kids, we drove back onto the dirt road. The very first house we pulled into there stood the person I had waited for 7 years to meet. Ignatious. He was dressed in a suit and on top of the suit was the traditional tribal clothing. His dad first walked to me and said, "you must be Austin?" We were all shocked at his English. Next I turned and squeezed Ignatious. We were both overwhelmed with joy. Then we met his mom, sister, and grandma. We went inside and talked forever. Using a translator, I told Ignatious and his family about when I first sponsored him.

Then I told them about Hoops of Hope and how I think it was because of Ignatious. They all were pretty excited. We asked the dad how he knew me. Ignatious pulled out a letter and a picture of a boy with a ton of freckles. The picture was of me was from when I was seven. It was crazy that they had kept it for so long. Then Ignatious gave me a letter he had written to me. I cried as I read it aloud. Next we proceeded to exchange gifts. I gave him clothing, a soccer ball, and a blanket. He got so happy. Then he gave me a handmade soccer ball, homemade water jugs, homemade purses and lots of fruit! We then went outside and tried what was called a jackfruit. They don't have that back home. It was sweet and chewy almost like a mango. It was really good though. Then they had me try a passion fruit. That was not my favorite at all. It was just like slimy seeds. Fortunately I did not have to try the banana. Then we played soccer forever! We also gave him a Frisbee and taught him how to play. His dad talked a lot about sponsorship and how it had moved them into this house and bought pigs and chickens. I asked Ignatious if I could help him get water. We walked and got some. As we walked kids would point and laugh. I asked him why and he said, "Most kids never get to meet their sponsor so they are laughing because they are so happy for me." That was so sweet.

As we pumped the water I would never forget how big the smiles he would get from me being there. After a little more Frisbee and soccer it was time to say goodbye. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was so cool just to be able to spend a day with him. I will never forget him. Most people don't get that chance, but it was and will always be the best day of my life.

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