Now we were on to our last tour, Reuben. My daughter really seemed to have some revelations while we were learning about his story. Maybe because he said his age at one point during the story and he was only a year older than her. She really seemed to notice how much more he had to do and how much less he had than she does.
When we enter Reuben’s world we entered into a room where his drunk father was sleeping. Right away we knew he came from an abusive home. His mother took him and his sister and they escaped in the night from him. That part was scary for Peyton.
Then we learned how Reuben was working as a shoe shiner at just 6 years old! He was bringing home the money so his family could eat. We also learned about the addictions everyone around him was suffering through. How many would sniff glue so the hunger pains didn’t bother them. It was sad to hear about it all. We also learned how someone Reuben trusted to watch his station while he took a quick break stole all his earnings! Reuben learned a lot of hard lessons that no child should have to.
It was a happy moment when Reuben tells about his time at the Compassion Project. It was also nice to know boys were accepted just the same as girls. And that the project protected the children when they were there. For example, Reuben drunk father showed up one day and they kept Reuben safe and turned him away. It was like a sense of relief when I found out how they cared for the children.
Reuben’s story had some twist the other children’s stories did not. He had an abusive father that he escaped but then had to go back to when he was a teen. He had a step mother who treated him horribly. These were all hard things for my daughter to hear but I think it was good. At the end of Reuben’s story we learned how he has grown up and is doing today.
And when we were done we walked into the alcove full of pictures of children hoping to find sponsors. Being a single mom, with no support, money is tight. But I thought about it. $38 a month to give one child a better childhood and fighting chance at becoming something was worth the sacrifice I would have to make. My sacrifice would be nothing compared to what Maria (our child we sponsored) lives with. So we did it. We sponsored Maria, a beautiful 5 year old from Tanzania. My hope is that over the years Peyton and Maria start to exchange letters and grow up together. They are the same age. My hope for Maria is that she can become anything she wants to be.
I am so grateful for the chance to learn about children throughout the world needing help. And I am grateful to be in a position to help one child. I wish we could sponsor more but for now we will pour all our love and support into Maria.
The Compassion Experience is traveling all over the United States. It’s a wonderful experience and a great way to help children develop compassion for those who are less fortunate. Click here to find out when the Compassion Experience will be by you.