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Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother

Chapter: 30 - June and a Little Girl From Africa - (1995 - )

 

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"CHAPTER 30."

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"JUNE and A LITTLE GIRL FROM AFRICA"

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(June - 1994 just before her Sponsorship in 1995)

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In February of 1995, June and Stan jointly through an organization called: "Compassion International", sponsored a young girl from the poor section of Nairobi, Kenya, Africa.

"Compassion" consistently receives high ratings for financial accountability and integrity. Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator, has awarded Compassion it's highest rating — four stars — for 14 consecutive years, placing Compassion in the top 1 percent of all charities.

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Compassion International was founded by Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952. (The year that June and Stan were married.) Compassion began providing Korean war orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.

As of 2012, Compassion International helped more than 1.5 million (1,500,000) children in 26 countries.

Compassion is a Christian religious based organization that is presently celebrating their 66 anniversary (2019) of bringing children up from poverty.

Compassion's motto is "Releasing Children From Poverty in Jesus Name." They are a Charter Member of ECFA. (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)

June and Stan first learned of the "Compassion" program through their Redeemer Lutheran Church. Pastor David Glesne the senior Pastor and his wife Mona were and are currently involved in sponsoring a child under this program.

The first little girl that June and Stan sponsored was Joyce Wambui. Although June and Stan's monthly contribution was/is a modest amount by American standards, the impact in the Nairobi economy is quite significant.

In Kenya the average per capita yearly income is only $370. (2001)

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(Below is photo of Joyce Wambui taken in 2001)

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Joyce Wambui, 2001  ---

The amount of money contributed monthly provides a nutritional weekly meal, health check-ups and medical care, provides textbooks, school supplies and trained teachers. Certain clothing is also provided. June and Stan would also send periodic letters of encouragement to Joyce.

June and Stan also provided birthday and Christmas gifts for their sponsored child.

After 7 + years (1995-2002) of continuous sponsor ship, June and Stan were advised that Joyce had successfully completed the education program. Joyce, who was in Primary school in 1995, had completed primary school and vocational school and has a trade as a dressmaker. The letters June initially received from Joyce were difficult to read as her English was rather stumbling and disjointed. While her post graduation English was not perfect, it was easily readable.

With the notice of the completion of the sponsorship of Joyce, June and Stan also received an emotional, thoughtful and touching final letter from Joyce. Some excerpts are:

"This is to thank you …for contributions towards my entire life. I have appreciated your long-term commitment to educate me. I received school uniform; shoes, fees and home clothes through your support…May God bless you for your concern and love to me. Thank you for your uncountable gifts you ever sent to me and letters….There is nothing I can give in return for all you have done to me – only to wish you Gods blessing an protection and the same compassionate heart to remain in you to assist others. God bless you. I will pray for you and I will never forget you. I will miss your sweet letters. We shall have to meet if it is not on this world then the land above. God bless you. – Joyce Wambui"

The sponsorship of Joyce covered the years of 1995 to 2002.  (7+ years) This was the period of primary school through vocational school where Joyce graduated as a dressmaker. It was in January of 1998 that June was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. June and Stan celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2002, the same year that Joyce graduated from the program.

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 (Below is photo of Sheilla Awuor in 2002 - Age 6

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Sheila Awuor ---

June and Stan had already signed on to sponsor another little girl from Kenya. (October 2002) This girls name was Sheilla Awuor. Sheilla was a little 6-year-old child from the hills of Kibera Slums in Kenya. Her birthday was Monday August 26th, 1996. Sheilla is a part of the Kibera Church of God Child Development Center. In February 2006, Sheilla was transferred to the PCEA Silanga Church Child Development Center.

"Sheilla lived with her father and her mother. She was responsible for carrying water, caring for children and helping in the kitchen. Her father was sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother was sometimes employed as a laborer. there were 4 children in the family. Playing ball games, hide and seek and running were sheilla's favorite activities. She regularly attended Sunday School. She was in primary school."

"Sheilla lived on the plains of Silanga, home to approximately 340,000 residents. Typical houses were constructed of dirt floors, mud walls and corrugated iron roofs. The most commonly spoken language is Kiswahili. The regional diet consists of maize, beans, bananas, fish,  bread, beef, rice and potatoes. Common health problems in this area include malaria, diarrhea, typhoid fever and AIDS. Most adults in Silanga are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn the equivalent of $30 per month. This community is said to have needs of improved sanitation, street lights and scholastic materials."

Sheilla was in primary school where she continued under June's and Stan's sponsorship. June and Stan started sponsoring Sheilla after Joyce's graduation in 2002. In the years 2003-2004, Alzheimer's started taking over more and more of June's life. It was early in the year 2005 that June required the full time care of a facility that specialized in caring for Alzheimer's victims. Stan started to  gradually assume the full duties of the sponsorship of Sheilla in the year 2002 as June traveled more deeply into the shadows of this terrible disease.

Note: On October 23rd, 2008, June passed away from the complications of Alzheimer's while a resident in the Alzheimer's Wing (Villa) of the Benedictine Health Care Center at Innsbruck, New Brighton, Minnesota. After almost 12 weary and exhausting years of battling Alzheimer's. God finally took June Home. When June left this world, Stan lost the love and light of his life.

Stan continued the Sponsorship of Sheilla in June's name and in June's behalf as a joint sponsorship in June's Memory. Stan received regular letters from Sheilla to which He tried to make an immediate response. He enclosed an occasional picture of June and Stan. Stan tried to explain what had happened to June, while at the same time giving Sheilla an assurance that their sponsorship would continue. Stan also tried to encourage Sheilla in her school work. Stan noticed that Sheilla's command of the English language had also taken great strides and with much improvement over the following years. 

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 (Photo of Sheilla Awuor taken in 2012 - Age 16)

Sheila Awuor 2012

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Stan's Update on Sheilla...(April 2017)...Stan would hope that this young lady would have dreams that they would be able to help her fulfill. Stan told her that He an June started out with nothing and yet they were able to achieve and have an unbelievable life.

Stan encouraged Sheilla to "Shoot for the Moon"... Sheilla talked about going to the nearby university and was so appreciative of what June and Stan were and had been doing for her... counting her own local language, she was also studying French...her English was coming along just fine...(22 September 2016) 

When Stan received the Spring 2017th Edition of  "Compassion" Magazine...special mention was made of June and Stan's efforts to permit this young lady to realize her dreams...the following was noted about Sheilla: 

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"Because of your support, Sheilla is already impacting her family and her community. And wo knows, one day she might even change all of Kenya"

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  Sheila

(Sheilla Awuor - 21 - 2018)

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 June and Stan sponsored Sheilla since 2002 - their Sponsorship ended in 2018 - June and Stan found it hard to let Sheilla Go!

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Stan's Note: Since about May of 2018, Sheilla has had her own Internet "facebook page"  under her name as spelled above.

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Map of Kenya, Africa

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IRADUKUNDA SABINA 

June and Stan started out (May, 2018) sponsoring a 3rd new little girl from Africa...her name is Iradukunda Sabina, age 6, from Rwanda, Africa. She was in First Grade. (Born in 2012)...This was be June and Stan's third (3rd) little girl.

Iradukunda's other family members were described by their  mother Murwanashyaka Felecien who was born in 1966 as: Bazubagira Emilita born in 1983, Niyigena Forodonata born in 2006, Imanishimwe Pacifique born in 2009, Niyomufasha Diane born in 2015.

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 Africa

(Iradukunda Sabina - Age 6) 

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Iradukunda's...favorites were described as:

1,  Color  was Blue

2.  Food was Rice and Beans

3.  Favorite Game was "A Ball"

4.  Favorite Toy awas "A Ball"

5.  Her Favorite School Subject was English.

6.  Her Favorite Bible Verse was PSALMS 23:6..."Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (KJV) 

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 Iradukunda lived in a Village rather than in a Town.

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 map

 (Rwanda - Africa - Map)

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Rwanda is located in Central Eastern Africa and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to West, Uganda to the North, Tanzania to the East and Burundi to the South.

Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African Mainland. It is located a few degrees south of the equator.

Rwanda is located in the Africa Great Lakes region with numerous lakes throughout the Country. It is dominated by mountains to the West.

The Climate is Sub-Tropical with 2 Rainey Seasons and 2 Dry Seasons ever year. 

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Although the Children that June and Stan have Sponsored, have all been African Children, the Compassion International Organization is World Wide, and one can find opportunities for sponsorship in all major countries. 

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"25th Year - June and Stan's Sponsorship  - Support - Compassion International"

June and Stan are now working on their 25th year of sponsorship and or support of the Compassion International Programs. This spans the years 1995-2019. During this time period 3 little girls were supported and sponsored (Joyce Wambui, Sheilla Awuor, and Iradukunda Sabina)...since June is in Heaven and Stan is 91 years old (2019) and has had severe health problems that required that he be hospitalized 3  times in the past 2 years, his active support of Iradukunda has been fragmented by these health problems. Accordingly, Compassion International has been advised that a change in support would become effective for the year of 2018 and all subsequent years. Individual Children would no longer be supported, but the same level of monthly monetary support would be continued with Compassion International. Such support is now in operation!

 

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