|A Family In Crisis
|During my 2005 trip to Kayamandi in South Africa, I met
Patricia and her family. She has a 20 year old son who
is in high school with two years left to finish, a fifteen year
old daughter in high school, a thirteen year old daughter
in junior high and a nine year old nephew in her care who
is in second grade. The nephew’s mom had passed
away and he now lives with Patricia as her son.
|I was asked to photograph Patricia because she was in very poor health. She
patiently allowed me to photograph her with each of her children, even though
she was so ill she could barely sit up. That evening, my team leader shared
with the rest of the team about meeting Patricia and that I had photographed
her as part of the Photo Legacy Project. With tears streaming down his face,
he looked across the room at me and said, "Laura, I don't know if she's going
to be there when you go back to take the photos to her".
|Fortunately, when we returned the
next day, Patricia was actually sitting
up a little bit more and happy to see
us return. She took each photo as I
handed it to her and stared, quite
speechless, cherishing every image
of her and her children.
|Several of the people on the team had brought along school
supplies and gifts, planning to sponsor a child from the village
through Horizon International. They came with us to visit Patricia
and were able to meet the child they were sponsoring and give
them gifts and spend time getting to know their sponsor child. It
was especially touching to watch Patricia's eyes light up as she
watched the folks hugging and loving her children.
|On our last visit to Patricia's home before leaving the village, each new
sponsor parent carefully held Patricia’s hand, looked her in the eye and
said, “I will take care of your child”, not knowing if they would see
Patricia again the next time they return to the village.
Child sponsorship makes a world of difference in a child’s life and in a
family's life. Each of Patricia's children will have money for school fees,
school uniforms, school supplies and food. Patricia will also have food,
medical care and support from local resources.
|On the team's trip to the village in July 2006, the team
leader went back to find Patricia. He did not find the
same woman. Patricia is healthy, glowing, working full
time to support her family and looks as if she weighs
twice as much as when we first met her!
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