When we began Ngangifisa two years ago we could have only dreamed that we would have achieved what we have. We remember the shy and quiet faces of the children staring back at us on that first day, not quite believing what they were hearing. Each family would receive support and most importantly food every month. It was our promise. All they had to do was stay in school and try their very best. Could it be that simple? Would we really show up as promised? We could see the doubt and feel the uncertainty.
Their trust took time, but we earned it. Before long the shy, quiet kids we first met were replaced with the rowdy teenagers we so wanted them to be. Our little family was born and they slowly began to open up about their circumstances and home life. Tebogo’s father shot his mother and then himself right in front of them. Mahlomola’s father simply left and never came home. Disease, gangsters and abuse, their stories had it all and it broke our hearts.
Two years under our belt hasn’t hardened us to their stories or their struggles. Each new child and each new story brings a new ache in our souls. Two years also doesn’t dampen the joy we feel every time a donation comes in.
This school year began with Jonas and Kelebogile being sponsored by the West family. Brian and Amy West have committed to purchasing both families groceries every month and their son, Cooper, has committed to being a pen pal. The power of his simple words in his first note to the boys are incredible. The looks on Jonas and Kelebogile’s faces when they read them were priceless.
Dear Jonas and Kelebogile,My name is Cooper West and Meghan is my Godmother. She’s actually my dad’s cousin, which would make her my cousin too, but she is more like an aunt to me.She is awesome and I learned about you and your school from her. I’m in 7th grade and I’m 13 years old. I am an only child. We live in the United States in a state called Minnesota. It’s shares a border with Canada. We get lots of snow (we currently have a foot or more of snow on the ground) and it gets very cold here in the winter, which is the season for us right now. Meghan says it is summer for you right now. I have learned at school that whatever my weather is, yours is probably the exact opposite because we live in different hemispheres.What is your favorite subject in school? Do you like school? I like learning about history and science. School is okay for me. I like being with friends at school and my teachers are very nice. Do you like sports? I like watching football and baseball, but I don’t really play. I like swimming and fishing in the summer time. And sometimes we go tubing in the winter. Tubing is where you ride down a steep hill of snow on an inflatable inner-tube. It’s a lot of work to get up the hill, but it’s so fun to slide down it so it’s worth it. That’s probably my favorite thing to do in the winter.Meghan tells us that you are very special kids and that must be true because she is a very honest person. She sees good things in you and because of that, even though I haven’t met you, I believe in you too. Bye for now!Your friend,Cooper West
Wouldn’t it be great for all 55 children to receive such amazing love? It really is that simple.
We are proud of them all and swear we don’t have favorites. Each one steals our hearts in a different way. Jonas is always making a joke and is the deciding vote on what we have for lunch each month. Thabiso refuses to look at the camera and rolls his eyes every time we hug him. Lilian writes beautiful poetry and loves sharing it with us. Thabisile sparkles as she runs across the school campus to embrace us. Little Inam is just precious. Tebogo and Maseng continue to amaze us and be the leaders we know they were born to be.
For two years we have shared their stories. We have patiently and methodically built Ngangifisa. We are grateful to our friends and family who have spread the word and shared what we are doing. We are blown away by the generosity and donations. It has truly turned into a global initiative and let’s us know that the world is more connected than we sometimes think.
We began with the dream of changing these kids lives. They have forever changed ours. We look forward to what our third year brings and the new families we will hopefully get to meet.
We dreamed of this and we dare to dream for more.