by Andrea C. Loewy, Sponsor
|Andrea Loewy poses for a picture with her sponsored child Tony (pictured to her left) and his family. Loewy traveled to Kenya to meet Tony on a trip she would never forget.|
What makes a family, a family? I’ve always thought I knew the answer, but I was wrong. I found the true meaning of family in July 2007 thanks to a seemingly spur-of-the-moment decision that snowballed into an opportunity of a lifetime.
Toward the end of December 2006, I made the commitment to sponsor a child through Christian Children’s Fund. I clicked through countless photos on the Web site. One face suddenly appeared – 11-year-old Tony from Kenya. There was hope and longing in those eyes. I made my decision.
In February 2007 I received two letters from the family telling me about Tony and where he lived. I learned that he loved football and math and science. I also learned that he had eight brothers and sisters.
After I finished reading the letters, I calmly announced to my husband that I was going to Africa. I didn’t know how I would raise the money, how I would get there or what I would do when I got there, but I was going. [Working through CCF] I arrived in Africa and was able to help at the Ugunja Community Resource Center in Ugunja, Kenya. They asked me to teach a class on program management and help create a Women in Construction group.
The Tuesday after my arrival I met Tony and his family. When we drove to Tony’s village, I was told that he had been up since 5 a.m., excited about my visit. The family welcomed me with open arms, and we talked at great length (through an interpreter) about the family, the situation in Kenya and their hopes and desires. All this time, Tony sat next to me, not saying a word. He and I were both nervous, and now that the moment had come, we just didn’t know what to say.
We then moved to another hut where I was honored with a celebratory meal. They served tilapia, rice, avocado, chicken and several traditional dishes. I was humbled by all of the thanks they gave to me. Before I left, everyone gathered around and sang and danced for me. I was told that we were all one family.
Tony and his family are as much a part of me as my own blood. There is already a hole in my heart that wants to go back, and go soon. I will be forever thankful to CCF for the work they are doing, not only in Africa, but all over the world. They are truly making a difference in thousands of people’s lives.