As I sit here sifting through letters I find myself amazed at how much these kids can grab part of your heart, especially if you have developed a pretty good relationship through letters over the years.
Today I'm sharing about Ayon - a boy we started corresponding with in November of 2007 and then began sponsoring in 2011. We received our final letter from him in March of 2013, but it wasn't really a final letter. It was just the last letter we received. Sadly, Ayon's project was put on probation by Compassion and they were unable to meet Compassion's requirements for staying open and it was shut down.
I have so enjoyed taking the time to sit down and read through several years worth of letters from each child we have sponsored and Ayon's letters were no different. It's fun to see a pattern in the way each child writes.
Over the 7 years we were writing to him, we received 63 letters!
February 10, 1999
Ayon lives in East India, near the city of Calcutta (30 km away). He lives in a mud house in a very rural area, only 1/2 km from where he attended the Compassion project. His project was only reachable by walking or by bike, and during the rainy season the roads were nearly impassable. (he mentioned this every year during the rainy season).
His project (Kalinagar Student Center - EI 105) served 300 families and here's a break down of religion and caste:
- 20 Christian families
- 220 Hindu families
- 60 Muslim families
- 90% low caste
- 10% middle caste
- 80% people are daily laborers
- 10% business
- 10% service
Miscellaneous info from letters:
- Ayon joined the Compassion project in 2003
- He was an only child and lived with his father, Babla, his mother, Tharna, and his grandmother, Sanaka
- signed every letter "your loving Ayon"
- favorite subject - science
- wanted to be a teacher - then in 2013 changed it to doctor
- every letter reported that he was attending Sunday school and mentioned him liking one of the following: Bible verse, Jesus song, Jesus stories, Jesus drama, Jesus instruction
Every letter also had a seasonal report of what was available to them from farming:
- chickoo (sweet fruit) and grapes
- dahlias and chrysanthemums
- mango, lichi, water melon, wood apple, green mango
- ice cream (he mentioned more than once how much he loved ice cream in his summer reports)
- lemon, jackfruit, pineapple, guava, pear, apple
- water lily
WINTER (this was his favorite season)
- orange, banana
- cauliflower, cabbage, sugar beet, carrot, radish, tomato
In the final years, his letters often had very colorful drawings or doodles
The Compassion center seemed very active - here are some of the things Ayon reported participating in:
- January 26 - republic day - cultural program (dance, patriotic songs, recitation)
- August 15 - independence day
- September 5 - teacher's day - activities to honor center "uncles and aunties"
- November 14 - children's day
- annual sports competition
- medical camp
- circus show
- Good Friday service
- Christmas program - 2 days of cultural programs, 1 day of gift distribution
- sleeps with mosquito net
- April 2011 - Center dug a deep tube well
"I have your photos in my personal Bible. Every night at prayer time I see your face and remember you in my prayers."
"It is very hot now in our village. But last evening there was raining a little. In this time we are getting mango in cheap price. I like to eat mango. Do you like mango? And my daily life just like this....Monday to Saturday everyday morning 7:00 am I go to center. My father also go for his work at the same time. Then I come to center and attend morning devotion. And then study, play games and many project activities go on. We take meals from here then I go for home and ready for school. Then I go to my school. Coming back from my school I used to go field with my friends. When I don't have my tuition. And when I have my tuition, I go for my study. Coming from tuition I spend some time with my parents. And then we take our dinner together. After dinner go for bed. Every Sunday I come to my center and attend church service. And at Sunday school I am knowing about Bible."
"I am very happy to read your letter that you have a special concern for me. I am fine by his grace. I am a sponsor child last 8 years. I am born and brought up in a non Christian family (Hindu) but now my life is changed through my child development center. My father is working as a daily laborer and my mother is a house wife. We are a poor family, but through CDC and help of Compassion I am studying. Without help of Compassion I can't study. Every Sunday all our family members attending Sunday church service and specially I like to attend Sunday school. Through Sunday school class I came to know Jesus is my friend, personal savior. Every day I am praying at morning and night time. Before eat, I am praying. When anyone sick we are praying. I thank God that through Compassion my life changed. I received gifts. I never thought that I can study, but by the grace of God I am now studying."