“Need Has No Season”

December 19, 2016

It’s the time for giving (so everyone says) and I felt like writing, so I decided to share a personal experience that encapsulates the title of this post, which is actually a Salvation Army motto: some people are in serious need all year round, not only at Christmas. Here’s my story…. 

A few Christmases ago, I gave myself the gift of the opportunity to change someone’s life. I’d always wanted to sponsor a child and knew that World Vision had been a leader in the field for some time. After some research, I signed up with World Vision and was paired with a boy named Pascal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Full of joy and optimism, I quickly announced to my family that I now had a son! I’ve been sponsoring Pascal now for roughly 12 years and it’s been quite an experience. 

What is sponsorship, you ask? Whatever you want it to be. You can simply send the nominal amount of money per month and never exchange a word with your child, or you can develop a relationship through gifts, cards, photos, etc. as I have. What does this have to do with the travel focus of my blog? I got to see and hear about real poverty up close and personal when I went to Kenya 2 years ago. It is absolutely unbelievable how some people who share the very air that we breathe have to live. I truly believe that Pascal is living better because of the school supplies and other items I send him twice a year, and he always writes back in acknowledgement and gratitude.


Pascal Ilunga Kaseya, my sponsored child in the DRC

Pascal’s village in the DRC has been ravaged by AIDS, so while he may have the luxury of a familial unit, his situation is still dire enough for him to have been listed as a child in need of aid: aid that is needed all throughout the year, not only at Christmas. While for the rest of us the so-called “Christmas spirit” dies down around the end of January to give way to the obsessive appreciation of significant others at the beginning of February, many around the world face another day of foraging through trash for the day’s meal. If I can give a little of what I have to make a world of (constant) difference, I must. And it is truly gratifying to do so.

To the naysayers, yes, there is the question of “how do you know Pascal is really getting what you send him?” Or “what about those so-called charitable organizations that just take your money and run?” Put simply, I’m going on faith. All factors considered, I believe World Vision does what it says, and that through it, I am making a considerable change in Pascal’s life. My philosophy is this: whether it’s World Vision or the homeless person in the street, I’m coming from a good place, so good will come back to me. Whether the recipient does good or bad with my well-intentioned funds, it will come back to him or her. I have given out of compassion, and my hopeful conscience is clear.

Check out World Vision’s website for more information on sponsorship and other opportunities to give, such as World Vision’s Gift Catalogue