By Cindy Cook-Leamen
In September of 2016, Child Sponsorship Ambassador Cindy Cook-Leamen traveled to Tanzania. While there, she met a hard-working family that had a few things in common with her own.
Normally in September, the dry season dictates a hiatus throughout the farming communities of Tanzania. However, Kitinda and Lucia’s farm in Kilago was anything but idle when I visited them a few weeks ago.
We were greeted with a warm welcome by a multi-generational family group. Deeply touched and honoured by the salutation, I felt curious and excited to learn about the bustling farm spread out before me.
As I walked along the rows of planted maize, I learned from Kitinda that a drip irrigation system funded by World Vision had converted an unproductive off-season into an image of productivity.
Beaming with pride, the Tanzanian farmer related how a year-round planting season has changed life for him, his wife and their seven children. I needed no translator to understand his message about the powerful impact accessible water throughout the year has had on his livelihood.
Now, for the first time in his life, Kitinda has the income necessary to support his children’s health and education, to build a sturdy family home and to plan for a future filled with hope.
Kitinda and Lucia’s happiness was contagious and I found myself sharing their enthusiasm amidst many smiles and much laughter. It was truly an amazing and heart-warming experience to witness the joy of this hard working farming family, and I was reminded of my own roots in Southwestern Ontario.
I, too, come from a hard-working farming family. If there is one thing that stands out for me from growing up on a farm, it is that, along with long days and hard work, a healthy balance of sunshine and water is the key to success.
Walking with Kitinda and Lucia, I was also reminded of many happy childhood memories of running and playing in my uncles’ seemingly endless fields of corn. If there was one wish I could grant this Tanzanian family, it would be that their children could also look back on childhood years filled with many happy memories and look forward toward a bright and hopeful future.
I realize, as I write this, that Kitinda’s success is testimony to a wish transformed into reality. World Vision’s initiatives in Tanzania, in cooperation with local communities and the government, are transforming lives.
Yes, Kitinda and Lucia’s happiness is contagious; however, it is also within reach for so many children and families in Tanzania. As a child sponsor and a Child Sponsor Ambassador, I walked away from my visit to this farm in Kilago not only with fond memories to treasure, but also with a song in my heart and determination in my soul.
Become an Ambassador like Cindy and use your voice to bring change to children in need.