"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Monday, November 10, 2014

and this is why i do THIS!

Below is a letter I recently received from Melissa, CTT Liaison at St. Mary Kevin Children's Home. I think you'll agree it validates just how much of an impact CTT is having on the children in Uganda, Sheillah in particular! The letter thanks Judy, her sponsor and Team 7 member Jane, who spent a great deal of time counseling Sheillah last December (and has continued to do so through written correspondence). We've all heard the phrase "it takes a village." Here's what those words can actually mean…

"I had the opportunity to visit Sheillah this past Sunday at her hostel in Mengo, and I felt compelled to write to each of you.  It has been a pleasure to watch Sheillah’s confidence blossom over these past few years.  And she really has each of you to directly thank for that!  Last year, I was really concerned about Sheillah’s emotional stability and all the school pressures. But I simply marveled at the confident, peaceful young lady that sat before me over the weekend.  Each and every word of encouragement, support and love from you has been internalized by Sheillah, as she has cherished and held them very close to her heart. 

During our visit, Sheillah reflected on her studies in such a wise, mature manner.  She has always identified herself as an academic and was always at the top of her class.  While attending Mengo Senior School was indeed a dream realized for Sheillah, she also stepped into a school environment of over 4,000 of the brightest students in Uganda.  The standards at Mengo are high. This school has taught Sheillah some valuable life lessons.  She has always been a solitary person, but she has recognized she had to reach out and relate with others, ask for assistance, and become part of a larger community of peers.  She was very proud to speak of her ‘friends,’ which has never before been a topic of discussion with Sheillah.  These friendships are based on mutual respect, a common love of science and genuine support toward success in the future. 

For Judy… First of all, Sheillah LOVED the camera you sent her for her birthday.  She squealed with joy and clasped her hands together with sheer excitement.  Sheillah spoke very eloquently about the impact your unconditional support has had on her.  She said that you are her inspiration and her motivation - that driving presence which provides her confidence.  When she has felt defeated, she pulls out one of your letters or feels encouraged by your words.  They give her strength to try again and not give up.  She wants to make you proud, because you have shown her the love of family that she has missed having.

For Jane… Your time with Sheillah at SMK profoundly impacted Sheillah’s outlook on how she was managing her life and emotions.  She said that you opened her eyes to several facts, one being not a single person on this earth can be perfect.  Sheillah said she was exhausting herself trying to attain the impossible.  You provided the wisdom that she just needs to do her very best and then have the patience to wait for results.  There was such a peace about her as she anticipates taking each examination one at a time, do her level best, and then feel contented with herself as she moves on to the next chapter of her life.  Thank you again for that time with Sheillah…she will never forget your words!! 

For Gloria… I wish I could have recorded Sheillah’s heartfelt words about the impact CTT has had on her life.  Without the opportunity for sponsorship and your direct links with Judy and Jane, Sheillah humbly recognizes that her life would be so drastically different.  She appreciated CTT supporting her choice to attend Mengo SS which was a dream come true for her.  While it was not easy, she is truly grateful She also spoke about the burdens that CTT lifted from her mind.  She was very proud that she was never once worried or was ashamed by being sent away for not having school fees.  She never had to attend a class without books or the proper supplies.  She never had to borrow basic hygiene supplies from her friends.  While it seems like a small thing, Sheillah corrected that it is, in fact, incredibly significant.  She named several CTT friends who have really stepped in during her family’s absence, and she got emotional being thankful for not having to be alone any longer.  Just another testimony to CTT’s profound work and your impacting leadership!!

Sheillah will be taking her Senior 6 examinations from November 10th-28th.  Please keep her in your very best thoughts… her results will then be released in March 2015.  Thanks again for all that you have done for Sheillah!!" - Melissa

Thank you, Mel, for sending this along. Thank you, Judy, for supporting and encouraging Sheillah throughout her high school experience, and thank you Jane, for helping her sort out her feelings about the stress in her life. 

If any of you blog readers would like to become a sponsor to one of our delightful young primary students - a graduating 7th grader who is eager to continue his/her education at the high school level, please contact me. I think you'll find it to be a very rewarding experience.


Anonymous said...

Great post!

Unknown said...

Warms my heart!

Jessica said...

Wonderful. It warms my heart, too!

Anonymous said...

what an amazing blog. thanks for sharing. the rewards of sponsoring a student are too many to list...you will learn so much about an incredible young person and about yourself and have a bond that is deep, loving and very special. - sg