Damaris was the very first child sponsored in the Village Project Africa sponsorship program—this special little girl, and the connection she formed with our first sponsor, Sandra, made us realize what an amazing opportunity we had to build bonds and change lives on both sides of the ocean. Here is Sandra’s story, in her own words:
I met Damaris on my first trip to Africa in 2008. My family organized a Bible school for the children at the school and she was there. I noticed her several times throughout the day, always standing alone and away from the other children. Slowly, over the course of the day, she made her way closer and closer to me and finally reached out to hold my hand. In all my years of teaching, I had never seen a child with such a haunted expression.
The day was over too soon and it was time for us to leave. We boarded the bus and one hundred or more children crowded the bank by the road, waving goodbye. I was waving at all the children when I saw Damaris making her way slowly along the back of the crowd, looking in every window of the bus. When she saw me sitting towards the back, she ran down until she was directly below my window. She reached her hand up and we held hands out the window until the bus pulled out to leave. Little did I know, my life would never be the same!
That was my one and only encounter with Damaris that trip,
but when I got home, I could not get her out of my mind and heart. I asked Margaret and Davis if they would check with the teachers and see if they could gather more information about this little girl, who I actually thought was a boy the day
Margaret and Davis checked on her and, through a process of communication, were able to assess Damaris’ needs and also meet her family. I had no idea that when Damaris made her way to me that day it would change both our lives—and that of her father, Morgan,
A few months after a return trip to Kenya and a visit with Morgan and Damaris, I could not stop thinking about them both. I truly believe God was putting them in my mind because something was wrong. I got in touch with Margaret and Davis and they again went to check on the family. When they arrived at their home, they discovered Morgan was very sick—in fact, he was dying. Davis got him to the hospital and through treatment Morgan got well. He now takes care of the chickens at Heritage Academy!
The way God allowed us to connect with this family was truly a miracle. He first allowed me to form a special bond with Damaris and used that connection to make a difference in (and surely save!) Morgan’s life. It is impossible for me to fully explain how my knowing this little girl in Africa has helped me experience God’s faithfulness and grace more fully.
Damarius and I still share a very special relationship and, while she was my first, I now sponsor 10 other children. I have the privilege of seeing the lives of the four girls I sponsor in the dorm change before my eyes. The haunted faces are replaced by shy smiles and giggles.
There is no better thing in the world than
knowing you are making a difference in the life
of a child. People tell me what a blessing I am
and that these children are so fortunate. My
reply is always the same: my life is the one that has been blessed beyond measure and I am so fortunate to be allowed a small part in making
the lives of these children more full and abundant in their knowledge and certainty that someone loves them.
We are thankful for Sandra, and the many sponsors who have come after her and found amazing, life-changing connections with children!