Having been a child sponsor and advocate for awhile, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the poverty that my children faced. However, when I actually visited two of my girls last summer, the reality of it hit me, and I discovered many times how little I really knew. While each one of those times of greater understanding and revelation gripped my heart, the moment regarding the dolls touched my heart very profoundly.
All year I had looked forward to visiting my girls and bringing them special gifts, and first on my list was a special doll. After our delightfully happy time swimming together, I presented Yolani with her doll. Instantly she was so incredibly over-the-top, ecstatic with her gift, and bubbling with intense joy! For a child who has so little, to receive her heart’s desire like this was a huge dream come true.
Yolani was in a flurry of delight examining her doll and doll clothes
All the girls were in awe of Yolani’s doll…
Yolani didn’t need much prompting to start dressing her doll in the different outfits
This sweet outfit was a treasured gift for Yolani from one of my friends
Showing her doll to Celvin, her older brother who was still in the pool…
he immediately got out of the water and came over to see her gift
Look at Yolani’s shining eyes! She promptly named her doll “Bonita”
While I was thoroughly enjoying Yolani’s delight over Bonita, I was acutely aware of the reactions of the other girls in our group. As they stroked Bonita’s hair and shared Yolani’s happiness, a look of longing and sadness swept over each one. When I asked them about their dolls, I discovered that not one of them had ever had a doll. Never. In fact, they didn’t even know any girls who had a doll, except for the ones who had received dolls from their visiting sponsors.
My heart in that moment was crushed by the weight of sadness, grief, frustration, and really anger that poverty had denied these children such simple childhood pleasures that we take so for granted. Our children here have so many toys… it hurt to realize that these 8, 9 10, and 11 year old girls had never had a doll. I had brought little gifts for the other girls, but I had no other dolls to give them.
When our team visited the local market, I looked in vain for dolls to purchase. The only ones I found were cheap little plastic dolls like you would find in a dollar store here, but the faces were incredibly harsh and ugly looking. Who makes such ugly dolls? Why? And my heart broke again that I had nothing to offer these other girls who had won my heart.
Even this week I received a letter from my little 7 year old Ugandan girl who replied that she had never had a toy before. Aaaugh! My heart…
Sweet Claritza enjoying the chance to hold Bonita
Avi, one of Yolani’s many cousins, was so delighted to hold Bonita
So I promised myself that when I returned, I would bring as many beautiful dolls as I could fit in my suitcase… not only the 5 that I need this year for my own girls, but for these other precious girls that I had gotten to know and love… Suany… Cesil… Avi… Claritza. And there’ are still so many more girls on my heart that I want to love on, but their dolls will have to wait for another year, as I simply cannot squeeze any more in!
I leave for Honduras in 22 days… so much excitement and joy for this long anticipated trip as I finish collecting the last of my gift items for the children. After seeing Yolani’s incredible delight not only in receiving a doll, but also that she had a few different outfits and pairs of shoes for Bonita, I would like to provide the same for each girl receiving one of these dolls next month. I have a list of items that I still need to purchase… however, with a number of trip expenses that I still need to pay, I realized that I really need help with this project to bless these girls! Buying a $10 doll dress for one child would not be difficult, but trying to provide 2-3 dresses for 9 girls is beyond what I can do at this point!
Here is a partial list of what I still need for this trip…
- 4 more of the purple outfits pictured here (single outfits are available in Walmart stores rather than the sets as shown on the link)
- 9 princess dresses in purple, pink or lavender and comes with a little crown
- 6 pink skirt/white sweater outfits (Walmart or Michaels)
- 4 other outfits in a variety of designs, such as this purple dress, or this denim skirt outfit
- 6 pairs white doll sandals
- 6 pairs doll shoes, pink sparkle flats (Walmart)
If anyone is up for sewing some pretty dresses to fit 18″ dolls, that would be wonderful too!
I am also looking to provide each girl with some sewing items so she can have the fun of designing and creating her own doll dresses and accessories…
- 9-18 “fat quarters” of pretty cotton quilt fabric in petite floral designs
- 9 packages of hand sewing needles
- 9 spools good quality white thread
- 9 pairs inexpensive sewing scissors
If you are interested in sharing in this joy together with me by providing one or more of these items, please contact me. I would be very grateful for your help in blessing each of these precious girls with a dream come true. And Yolani, Suany, Cesil, Avi, Claritza, Daniela, Reina, Sofia, and Maybeline will all be sending you “enormous hugs and kisses” too. :o)
Many blessings of joy!