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International Classroom Connection for Child Sponsorship Programs

International Classroom Connection for Child Sponsorship Programs

One of CARITAS For Children's main purposes is to nurture the relationships formed between sponsored children in Africa and their sponsors in the United States. A very beautiful example of how a relationship has advanced greatly is the one between the classes at an American Catholic school - St. Boniface School - and their sponsored "sister" Flavia.

 In our modern day, one of the ways that CARITAS connects children with their sponsors in the States is through the video-calling program, Skype. So in mid-December, we planned a "Skype event" between Flavia, in Primary 2 class at Stella Maris Boarding Primary School in Uganda, and the children of St. Boniface in the states. Because of the time difference, the international meeting was scheduled at 5 o'clock p.m. East African Time and 8 o'clock a.m. US Central Time. Flavia was ecstatic to meet her brothers and sisters across the world, and the children at St. Boniface eagerly began to prepare questions to ask their Ugandan sister.

All was fine and well, until the power went out in Nkokonjeru, Uganda on that scheduled Monday. I didn't know what to do next because we had no generator at the planned venue, and the generator was broken at Flavia's school. Plan B: let God take the reins!

To make a long story short, Flavia and I ended up having to Skype on a table in the middle of the street, with power cords coming from two different windows, with a laptop that would not pick up the internet signal, and with the sun blazing on us! The importance of this story, however, is not within the trials I endured in order to make the Skype event to happen, but in the way that God blessed the conversation between Flavia and her classmates on the other side of the world. 

Skyping in the Street Skyping in the street

The St. Boniface children greeted Flavia in a unified Luganda-language greeting, "Olyotya?" or "How are you?" Flavia couldn't hide her smile; she responded with a confident, "Gyendi!" or "I'm fine!" The camera panned around the American classroom, and Flavia could clearly see the children's huge smiles and enthusiastic waves. The children at St. Boniface took turns asking Flavia questions like, "What is your favorite color?" and "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And although the connection wasn't perfect, blessings were everywhere. After a few short minutes, Flavia felt comfortable enough to sing two songs to her "classmates" and the children at St. Boniface enthusiastically sang back to her. Soon after that, Flavia's second-grade Ugandan teacher just "happened to be" walking down the street, and she excitedly sprinted up to the computer to meet Flavia's American brothers and sisters. One of the teachers at St. Boniface even brought snow into the classroom so that Flavia could see what it looks like - all the while Flavia and I were sweating profusely in the beating sun! 

Flavia meeting her American "classmates" for the first time Flavia meeting her American 'classmates' for the first time   Skyping through my cellphone after laptop stopped working Skyping through my cellphone after laptop stopped working

After the Skype event, a teacher at St. Boniface wrote to us, stating, "Flavia is BEAUTIFUL and so outgoing! I could not believe she sang two songs for us...I remember her first report card said she didn't socialize - look at her now! We are so proud of her and so blessed to be a part of her life. We can't wait until February to do it again!"

What a simple, but beautiful, testament to what God does in relationships where people on both ends are willing to give and receive genuine love. What a blessing to help facilitate and witness this relationship.

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All photographs were taken and donated to our child sponsorship programs by our generous volunteer photographer, Tina Erdmann. Visit www.tinaleannphotography.com