After the routines were finished I was asked to get up in front of all the kids, Benedict and his family, and the ChildFund staff to make a speech. I felt a little nervous as I walked up to the front of the playground and could feel all eyes on me, but I managed to say thank you to all of the children for making me feel very welcomed and that I loved their performances.
When all of the children went home I had a chance to get to know Benedict and his family a little better. Benedict was very shy so we didn’t get to speak too much but I could tell that he was really happy that I was there, as were his parents. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that Benedict kept looking at me and smiling, however, when I would look at him directly he would quickly turn away embarrassed. I think as a young 13-year-old boy from the Philippines he was quite overwhelmed to be meeting his Australian sponsor who he had been writing to for the past four years.
I spoke a lot with his mother who asked me many questions about me, my life in Australia and my trip to the Philippines. She even asked me if I had a boyfriend! I think they just wanted to know most of the things that I wanted to know about them. They were also very thankful for my sponsorship of Benedict. The time I spent with Benedict and his parents is very special to me.
To be there at the Kids’ Camp meeting Benedict face to face, feeling just how real my sponsorship of him is and being able to speak with him and his family, made it such a wonderful day. Now being back home in South Australia I am able to visualise him, his surroundings and his life, which really makes my connection to him feel much more tangible. To also meet all of the children at the camp just added to what was already an amazing day. It just makes you want to come home and sponsor more and more children from the Philippines. I just loved it!
If you are thinking about visiting your sponsored child, my advice to you is: GO! It is such a rewarding experience and well worth the trip. I think it is also great for your sponsored child and their family to see who you are and know you exist as well. It’s a memorable day for everyone that you will never forget.