on the needles

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Carla's Family and Housing Photos

Next week super sponsor Steve is flying to Chile to meet and spend some time with several of his sponsor children. As he did when he recently went to Guatemala, Steve has volunteered to meet with and take photos of other children sponsored by people in our group. In fact, he will be meeting with 11 children on his second day! I hope Steve has lots of room on his memory card - 11 kids sounds like tons of photos!

Hopefully Steve will be meeting with two of my children - one of which is Carla.

My sponsor child in Chile, Carla.

Carla lives with her family in/near Valparaiso, Chile. I have been sponsoring her for a little over a year.

Carla outside her home with her mother Margarita and brother Hans (13).

Carla is fortunate that her home has running water and a toilet. These are luxuries that many of my sponsor children do without. They also have beds and cook on a portable gas stove - again, things many of my sponsor children do not have.

Carla's home.

Carla's father Carlos is a street vendor like so many of the parents. Margarita stays home with the children. The family has requested an IGP to set up a small store in their home where they could sell household items and hygiene products like soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc. I think it's a good idea since it would bring a second income for the family while allowing Carla's mother to still stay at home with the children. They need the start up money to buy stock as well as supplies to repair that part of their home to make it suitable for a store. I'm waiting for an update on the IGP and hope to get it started within the next six months.

Carla and family outside her home.

Carla's family has always been at the top of my group of sponsor children in terms of the money they have to live on. They currently have $226 a month - somewhat less than they have had in the past. However, I don't think the impact of poverty can be judged solely by the dollar amount associated with a family - there are so many other factors. For instance - it may be easier for Joey's family to live in a rural farming area for only $21 a month and much harder for Carla's family to live in a town/city on considerably more money.

Luckily Carla's brother Hans has a sponsor. And having only two children in the family helps to keep the financial stress down somewhat.

It took quite awhile for me to feel like I had developed a connection with Carla. I'm sure that part of the reason is Carla's age - she just barely turned six years old. So her mother has been in charge of writing letters for her. It's hard to get a six year old child to express their thoughts for a letter to someone they have never met. I'm also Carla's first sponsor so I'm sure that she has been trying to figure out how this whole relationship works. :) Carla's letters were very short and general for a long time. I kept at it though and recently I have been getting more of a picture of Carla's character and her likes and dislikes.

She recently requested that I send her some photos of me and my family which I did. Hopefully she has received the package - or at least will very soon. I was happy that she was expressing curiosity about me and wanting to get to know me better. She also seems to like to hear about my daughter. I think Carla is curious to hear about the life of a little girl in another country and culture.

So - all in all things have been going well with building my relationship with Carla. Some of my children became very attached to me right away (Ana, Harry and Maica come to mind.) Some of the children have very sunny, open personalities (Nyslin and Jhonny) and we became friends very quickly. Others (Hermelinda and Zoila) are more shy and reserved and more slowly come to believe that I am a friend who will be there for them. It's a different journey with each child and I enjoy the process with all of them.

I think that when Steve meets Carla he will meet a very cute little girl with gorgeous long hair and a radiant smile. I've never had a problem getting a smile out of Carla! She's very photogenic so, like I said, I hope Steve has lots of memory on that camera of his!!

Carla's most recent photo from CI. She's such a beautiful little girl!

I'm really looking forward to the years to come, watching Carla grow and change and our friendship to grow stronger.

Next time I will show you the photos of Carla getting her birthday gifts!

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