This is Ahishakiye, our sponsored child through Compassion. Lizzy and I had the huge privilege of meeting him, his mother and one of his brothers last Saturday. Some while ago his father could no longer afford the rent on their apartment in town, so he built the family a shelter with a grass roof. Then, one day he was rushed into hospital having fallen ill, and died soon after, leaving his wife and his four children with nothing but a thatched shelter.
Ahishakiye’s mum does her best to look after the family, working in the fields as a farm labourer when she can get the work, which earns her 4,000 shillings per day. That may sound a lot, but it’s about £1, or $1.50. And right now is the growing season, so there is no work, which means she earns nothing. I asked her what she does for food? ‘People help us,’ she answered.
And that sums up the story of this family: the community around them, when Compassion had some new spaces for sponsored children, were asked who the neediest of the needy were: Ahishakiye’s family. That’s when he became a sponsored child. And the community around them helped to build a new home with a metal roof, donated by the local Compassion project. This means they can harvest rainwater so during the wet season they don’t have to travel to collect it anymore. But as the roof is second-hand it has holes in it, which means some of the rainfall comes into the home. Ahishakiye showed us his tiny bed ‘room'; there were holes in the roof above his mattress so it was damp. He shares this mattress with a brother as there are only three beds for the five of them.
Compassion have also given them a goat, which gives them a supply of milk and may, if they can get another, produce offspring which can provide an income.
It was such a joy to meet Ahishakiye, to show him photos of our family, to give him gifts of toys, clothes and a bible (and a Manchester United shirt!), to hear about their life and to pray with them. And it made me so thankful that we were investing into this beautiful family a small amount of what God has given to us, so that their future may look completely different to their past.
That’s what compassion does: it infuses life with hope. And Compassion are infusing hope into the neediest of the needy. Ahishakiye wants to become a pilot. I’m thankful to be a part of the process which allows that to have become a possibility for him.