Ecuador: Meeting Emily & Josue

Today, I’m continuing my series of posts relating to my recent trip to Ecuador. For previous posts, click here. My apologies, I was planning to have this post run last Thursday, Feb. 6, but we’ve had some major winter weather for our area & I took some time away from the computer to enjoy the snow 🙂 

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MeetingEmily&Josue01This will forever be one of my favorite photos from my trip – this moment when I first hugged my sponsored boy, Josue. This moment rocked. From the moment our group of sponsored gathered in Miami, this is what we were all waiting for – and boy did we wait. Before we could enter the room where our sponsored children gathered, there were some technical problems with the sounds system. It felt like were were kept outside those big double doors to the conference room for ages.MeetingEmily&Josue02Finally they got the sound system fixed and we were able to parade into the grand ballroom. Our tour leaders led us to the front of the room, amid the many tables of sponsored children and their families. From the moment we entered the doors (well, actually from the moment we left our rooms to meet up in the lobby) each of us sponsors eagerly eyed the room for our children. Josué, being nearly 6 foot tall and the only black sponsored child there, was easy to spot. He was in the front, left corner of the room and bashfully smiled and waved at me as I spotted him. Once I found him, I was able to locate the area where my “family” was & spotted little Emily grinning like crazy. She looks exactly like her photographs. There was no doubt in my mind that these were my kids. But, before I could rush over to them, the tour leaders had all the sponsor line up in the front of the room & one by one we were called forward to “meet” our children.

I was called last. It took forever. MeetingEmily&Josue03Once my name was called, Josué rushed up to hug me, and confetti was tossed by someone – no idea who. Emily was right behind Josué; and we got a couple of photos before finding our seats. I am so, so, so glad I handed off my phone/camera to one of the Compassion workers who traveled with us but wasn’t meeting her sponsored child. I did not want to worry about taking photos. I wanted to enjoy the moment.

Each sponsor had a round table somewhere in the room where their sponsored children and the kids’ guardians waited. Mine was in the front, right side of the room, and seated myself, Emily, Josué, Emily’s Mother, Emily’s Little Sister, Emily’s Tutor, Josué’s Sister, Josué’s Tutor, and my translator. MeetingEmily&Josue04From the moment we sat down it was amazing. Both Emily and Josué presented me with spectacular & heartfelt gifts.
MeetingEmily&Josue05Emily gave me a fantastic traditional hat & handmade bracelets to remember her and her family by.

My beautiful pictureThey were stunning, and I wore the bracelets for the rest of trip. My beautiful pictureAnd the hat is so awesome. Just so, so awesome. This girl who doesn’t have hot water in her house, used her funds to purchase me this beautiful, traditional hat. I was overwhelmed, and we were just getting started.MeetingEmily&Josue08My dear Josué, my award winning baseball pitcher, he gave me his trophy from a recent game where he was named as the best pitcher only a month before my visit.

MeetingEmily&Josue10

You guys, he gave me this trophy. As in it flew home with me and is proudly displayed in my office. He might have only ever received this one trophy, and he gave it to me. 

MeetingEmily&Josue13He also gave me a handmade card and headband.

I had a few little gifts for Emily & Josué. Compassion gave each sponsor a small gift bag with candy and treats to help break the ice with the kids; but I also knew that I wanted to give each of my kids a camera & let them document the trip.

I bought 2 inexpensive digital cameras at Walmart before I left home with the intention of giving each of my kids one of them. I also stocked up on batteries and 4 SD cards. The plan was to put 1 SD card in each of the cameras at the beginning, let the kids take photos to their hearts content, and then switch out the SD cards with new ones right before I left. I would take their photos home & print them, and then send the photos back to the kids in the many letters I would write them. It worked out perfectly. I would do this again in a heartbeat. I got tons of photos, but never had to be behind the camera – it was so awesome!

MeetingEmily&Josue11After what seemed like 2 seconds, the emcee had us all up and dancing to children’s spanish songs. I have no idea what they sang, and the sponsors and myself were several steps behind the native speakers, but it was so much fun! And man, all the dancing wore me out! It was quite the workout, quite the workout.
MeetingEmily&Josue12And at some point during the night (I honestly can’t remember if it was before or after the dancing, but I think maybe it was after?) we were taken through a buffet line for supper.MeetingEmily&Josue09There was also a face painting area set up for the kids and sponsors. I took Emily, her little sister, and Josué, 

My beautiful pictureThe girls were pretty excited.
My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful pictureI don’t have a photo of the face painting, but they were short on painters so I painted Josué’s face, and he painted mine. It was an extremely special time.

MeetingEmily&Josue18The night flew by, and was the perfect way to start our time together. The goodnight was not nearly as bad as the goodbye that would come the next day. And the couple of hours we had together was a perfect way to break the ice and get past the awkward introductions so that we could enjoy every single minute of our fun day together. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

7 thoughts on “Ecuador: Meeting Emily & Josue

  1. Hannah H. says:

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing about your time with Emily and Josue!! The fact that Josue gave you his trophy brought tears to my eyes. What a precious time!! I love your idea with the cameras!! If I ever go on a trip to visit my sponsored kids, I’ll have to do the same. I also love how this really shows how it’s possible to build a relationship via letters. Thanks again for sharing.

    Like

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much for reading and following along! And I know, that trophy was a killer. You should totally take cameras when you go – I seriously feel like it was the best decision of my whole trip.

      Like

  2. Jill Foley says:

    What a fun post! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of sponsors having a chance to spend an evening together before the official sponsor fun day.

    I LOVE your camera idea – what a good one!

    And wow…he gave you his trophy?!?! Just wow.

    Like

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