Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Years ago, I was traveling to do home visits at Meikle’s Farm with a visitor from the states named Jim. We were visiting all the children on the HOPE nutrition and education programs in that area. One little girl named Cleopatra caught Jim’s attention. She was an orphan and lived with her sickly grandmother. Cleopatra attended Hartzell Primary School where she was always number 1 in her class. That was about all we knew about her because Cleopatra was not on our program. She was being taken care of by another program that paid for her school fees each term.
Throughout the years, Jim would consistently ask for updates about Cleopatra. How is she doing in school? How is she managing to take care of her grandmother on her own? Does she need anything? We would always do follow-ups with Cleopatra, and the answers were always the same. She is still top of her class, she is doing well living with her grandmother and since she is part of a different sponsorship program, we aren’t really able to help her with anything else at this point.
Last month, Jim’s persistence paid off. The principal from Hartzell was discussing how upset he was that one of the programs assisting with school fees was now ending. It would not be able to cover children moving on to junior high and high school. The principal was most concerned about one student in particular, who was top of her entire class. He knew she would do well on her 7th grade tests and be given a place at Hartzell Secondary. She excelled at science and math. The only problem was her grandmother had become very ill, and the little girl would not possibly be able to afford the high fees. Of course, I knew right away who he was referring to…our Cleopatra. Cleopatra, who we may have never known about if Jim had not taken an interest in her years before and persisted in having us follow up with her regularly.
So Jim’s email came again asking about Cleopatra. How is she doing in school? How is she managing to take care of her grandmother on her own? Does she need anything? She is still top of her class, her auntie has come to help care for the grandmother, but if we don’t find a way to help her, Cleopatra won’t be able to continue in school.
And so, after years of patient waiting on Jim’s part, he was able to make Cleopatra’s dream come true without so much as one day’s worry for her. He has agreed to pay for day school fees, and if we are able to find two more sponsors, we will transfer her to boarding school where she can have time to study at night and have extra help from her teachers. Hartzell is not far from her home, so she will be able to visit her granny often. If you would like to join Jim in sponsoring Cleopatra, please email email@example.com.
If you would like to read a continuation of Cleopatra’s story, please see the blog entry below entitled “Cleopatra’s Purse.”