Came from Reagan. Not the Reagan you just pictured.
My wife, Kaira, and I recently returned from Uganda. We went on a 10-day Compassion International sponsor tour. We’ve sponsored many children through Compassion International, which -- by the way -- is a fantastic organization which does tremendous work through the local church in many different countries.
This was my second trip with Compassion, Kaira’s first. Compassion organizes tours for sponsors to experience first-hand the work they do in children’s lives and meet your sponsored child. Yasin is a young man, age 20, who we’ve sponsored since age 6. He lives in the southeastern part of Uganda. Yasin comes from a broken home, has been shuttled around between mom and dad, lives in a round adobe style thatched roofed hut and his mom is a peasant (described by Yasin). He wants to become a Doctor.
It’s awesome to hear about these kids’ dreams, especially after seeing their daily home life.
In addition to visiting Yasin, we also visited several homes of the children involved in the Compassion program. This is heart-wrenching to say the least. My first visit to homes in Tanzania left me speechless, heartbroken, emotional, empathetic, yet encouraged, optimistic and hopeful. I experienced a wide range of emotions during these visits. Kaira experienced the same during her first visit, lots of weeping.
Our first home visit led us to Stanley’s home in Kampala, the largest city. Stanley is a 4-year-old, new Compassion child. His mom, Resty, has 4 kids. Her husband died a while ago. Unemployed and HIV+. Resty washes clothes but her employer lost his job. There is 75% unemployment rate in Uganda. I walked away from that visit filled with joy and hope, not based on her living condition (8x8 room, literally looked like an old western jail cell with no windows and an old wood door). Their water supply was a small stream right outside her little house. I have no idea where the water came from but I assure you it was not clean, the whole neighborhood used it for all their “water” needs.
I experienced joy and hope knowing that if Stanley sticks with the Compassion program, his experience will change his family tree. Just imagine generations living in “poverty” being changed with one child. INCREDIBLE.
Back to Reagan. One of the other highlights of these trips is meeting and hearing the story of a young person who has completed the Compassion program and is now in University or working in some type of vocation. Reagan is a 22-year-old 5’2” young man, with a 5’ smile that beams into your soul.
Reagan grew up in the slums of Kampala, which we also toured. He started the program at 5 years of age and is now going to University. When he got up to share his story, his smiled lit up the room. His message to us and the best advice I’ve received about poverty is “Poverty is a Mentality”. This pearl of wisdom profoundly touched me. I had heard this same statement from a preacher in Tanzania. He told us to “tell America that Tanzanians don’t live in poverty, they have fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh fish and meat. Poverty is a mindset, change your mind and you can begin to change your situation”. I love it.
Our purpose at SWG is to help you navigate the path to a better, more secure future. This is why we exist. We are passionate about our purpose. If I added a comma to that statement it would be “in order for you to be financially content/free so you can impact the lives of others”. Imagine the type of legacy you’d leave for your family, community, country and planet if you were freed up financially to give of your time, talent and/or treasure. Imagine the life or lives that could be changed. If you’re not familiar with the starfish story, ask me.
You can make a difference.
Ross Haycock CFP®, AIF®