Today I share with you a powerful story of hope. For the times that we feel like our prayers and gifts aren't really making a difference, this real life story will encourage each of us to do our part.
The story of Florence's family:
Derrick Hakaboya, 30, used to hear his children’s cries of hunger and wonder how he could provide for them.
Derrick, a father of five, lives with his wife, Dysteria, 27, and five children in World Vision’s Hamaundu Area Development Project (ADP) in Zambia. Derrick married when he was 21 years old. A year later, he and Dysteria had their first child, a boy named Fordeth. Two years later baby Florence came along.
Tough Transition to Family Life
Things weren’t easy for the newlyweds. Usually a new couple can rely on the groom’s parents to provide the capital to set them up for married life. But Derrick’s father was dead and his mother had remarried a man unsupportive of her first family.
They went to live with Derrick’s brother, but he had a large family so couldn’t also take care of Derrick and his wife and child. So Derrick and Dysteria returned back to their village with their children.
Derrick wasn’t sure how he was going to shelter, clothe, and feed his family. He’d relied on eating wild fruits and vegetables growing up, but that wasn’t enough to sustain his growing family.
He began to sell charcoal to raise money for food and supplies. But the charcoal didn’t bring in a lot of money. He sold an 11-pound bag for only about $0.45 US cents. He barely scraped together enough to feed his children once a day.
Often the children would cry for food. Florence, who is now nine years old, remembers that time. “I couldn’t feel anything,” she says.
This sent Derrick out of the home seeking day labour just to be able to offer his kids a little more nourishment.
Burden Lighter Through Child Sponsorship
Then Florence was sponsored through World Vision and things began to look up for the family. World Vision provided the family with clothing, blankets (for the cold winter months, mosquito nets (for the rainy season) and school supplies. The assistance allowed Derrick to use his limited resources on food.
“The burden [became] lighter because it wasn’t easy for me to divide the money for buying clothes, food, blankets, but when the child was sponsored, I was able to just concentrate on finding food,” Derrick says.
This also allowed Derrick to come up with a new way of supporting his family as it grew to five children. He began to make bricks and sell those.
He used dirt from nearby termite hills to fashion the bricks. While they dried in the sun, he gathered firewood, which he used to bake the bricks.
A Sponsor’s Extra Gifts
Then Florence’s sponsor began to send extra gifts to the family. With the first gift, the family bought a mattress, two blankets, and a couple of goats. Then another gift arrived. This time they used it to buy tin to replace the grass roof they had.
“In the grass-roofed house there were a lot of leakages during the raining season,” says Derrick. “The grass also was harboring some lice, which was a nuisance to the children.”
Since the tin roof went on the family’s home, they’ve had no more trouble with the roof leaking or with bugs bothering the children.
Florence’s sponsor sent a third gift, which Derrick used to buy some pigs.
“We are just waiting for the goats (and pigs) to multiply. When they multiply, we will probably sell some and buy some cattle,” says Derrick. The cattle will help him work the land.
Right now they plant by hand so what grows goes solely to feed the family. If they can increase the amount of food they grow, they can sell some of the food to help the family out even more.
Florence shares that her sponsor also writes letters. “I feel happy and good,” she says about receiving those letters. She saves them.
Derrick wants his children to be able to finish school. He wasn’t able to attend past grade 9 because he lacked the money. And with the help his children are receiving through child sponsorship, that opportunity appears to be within their grasp.
Florence dreams of being a nurse. Like a modern-day Florence Nightingale, she hopes to care for the sick people of the world.
For now Derrick is thankful for the tremendous support of World Vision’s child sponsorship. During the dry season he and Dysteria can now feed their children twice a day. During the rainy season it’s three times every day.
Derrick says to Florence’s sponsor: “We can really thank that person for the help he brought into the family.”
I love this story because it shows how sponsorship with World Vision can not only change the life of a child, but the life of their whole family. What a beautiful picture of God fitting all the pieces together.
The purpose of world vision is life in all its fullness...and that begins with the meeting the basic needs of people. For many, clean water is akin to liquid gold. Eating daily or even twice a day is a luxury.
I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch this powerful video.
I was compensated by World Vision for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.