Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Day with Kaio

Now that we're done getting our newsletter sent, I can finally get around to finishing up blogging about our trip to Brazil. Actually, this probably won't be the last. It was an important trip. So, on to day 2 of visiting our Compassion International sponsored children!

The day after we met with Stefanny, we visited with Kaio at his project and in his family's home in Fortaleza. This was my second time to meet Kaio. I met him briefly on my previous trip to Brazil in 2002, when he was 3 years old. Now he's 11.

When we arrived at the project, we met Kaio and his mom, and Kaio gave us a tour of the project. We got to see many of the different classes and services available to the students who attend.

Young children's class
Music class
In the Bible classroom, Kaio explains the Bible study curriculum to Keith.
We saw a demonstration of Capoeira, a dance-like Brazilian martial art which took as its inspiration the movements of escaping slaves. It is accompanied by singing and berimbau. Keith got to try it too!
Keith played soccer with the kids too--here is his team. The game stopped when Keith got blisters on the bottom of his feet... they were playing barefoot!
We visited the kitchen. Good stuff coming from in there...
While we waited for lunch, we had ice cream from Kaio's family's new business.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch with Kaio, his mom, and the project staff.
After lunch, we took a short walk to Kaio's house. Quick digression: after spending the last several days not leaving the tourist areas because to do so would be "dangerous," it was refreshing and a bit of a thrill to go where real people live, in this case, a dangerous slum. We felt honored to be able to walk with our friends and to watch as they greeted their neighbors. Most American tourists in Brazil don't get to do this--out of necessity they stay in the safe places and miss out on real life. The neighborhood was dirty and the houses were small and poorly constructed. The poverty in which these people live is truly dreadful. (Thankfully we didn't see anything dangerous, although we were instructed to be cautious and to hide our cameras.) However, we were blessed to meet some of the wonderful people who live in Kaio's neighborhood, and to enjoy the hospitality of Kaio's family and the project. I'm so glad I get to be a part of the work that Compassion is doing in Brazil... and I'm so glad I get to be a part of the lives of Kaio and his family! Okay, end digression. Enough gushing.

As I was saying, we visited Kaio's house. The project staff explained that Kaio's parents have started their own ice cream business, and thus they were able to improve their living situation--they now have a larger house (by the standards of their neighborhood) and a small car which they use for making deliveries. It's possible that Kaio will not be eligible for sponsorship much longer. This worries his parents--they want to make sure he gets the best education possible, and they want him to stay out of trouble--as I mentioned, their neighborhood is dangerous--gangs, drugs, etc. The project workers have assured them that Kaio will still be welcome in some of the project activities, even if he is no longer officially sponsored.

Kaio and his parents pose with their ice cream freezer!
We had coffee together, looked at pictures, talked, and prayed.

As we showed Kaio our photo book, he frequently recognized pictures which we had sent to him with our letters.
This is the one and only time you will ever see Keith with a coffee cup in his hand.
Keith's gift to Kaio: a frisbee, of course!
It was really hard to go home that night...

Shameless plug: I'm totally sold on Compassion's ministry, having visited my sponsored kids 3 times and talked to kids, staff, parents, pastors, etc. This is a great program on so many levels. I'd be happy to tell you more about our visit, whether you are already a sponsor, or if you're thinking about sponsoring a child. If you are ready to sponsor a child right now, follow this link. :)

1 comment:

~MJ~ said...

It's so great that you have good connections with your Compassion child... I sponsor a child through World Vision and have tried to connect with her, but her responses are few and always very brief and surface-level.