Once I had " decided " on which family I wanted to sponsor they soon became more to me than " just " a £ 10 a month Standing Order - I thought about them often , wondering how they were and I decided to visit them on my next trip to Egypt ! This was 3 weeks ago!!!
I can't describe just HOW MUCH I was looking forward to meeting them and HOW EXCITED I was when that day finally came !
I had brought clothes for the children from the UK , some bought by me and others bought and donated by friends ! Sent with all their love !! Tennis balls , skipping rope , soap, chocolate , etc all went into my case and my stuff was unpacked again : ) x Luggage allowance was an issue .....
The day before I went to Luxor from Hurghada , I went shopping and managed to buy a shopping trolley full of food , juice , milk , cups , badminton set , tubs , bin etc and sweets of course ..... Happy days : ) !!!!
Then on Sunday , we , Chris my driver and I , loaded the car and left at 6 am for our drive through the desert to Luxor ! What a fantastic experience that was ! Finally - in Luxor - we met up with Connie who was going to come with us to the West Bank ! : ) x
We stopped off at " Little Stars " where met up with Nagar who was going to come with us to the village , and also the driver who was waiting to drive the van and deliver a repaired cooker to another family AND a Fridge to mine ( smiles ) - Before we went though I was lucky enough to meet some of the children at " Little Stars " who were still in class : ) - IT WAS BRILLIANT to meet these kids , all smiles and wanting to shake hands ! and then we had a tour around the building and different areas , sewing room , dentist room etc which was an experience within itself and fantastic to see the work that " Little Stars " is doing and has achieved so far ......
Then finally the drive to the village ! I can't tell you how I felt - just amazing - sooooo terribly excited to meet " my " family at last !!!! .... Writing this I have tears in my eyes because it was such a VERY special drive for me - one concern I had was that I didn't want them to think that this was just a one off visit .....
Our first stop was to drop the cooker off ! It seemed as though all the village kids had come to greet us - everyone was laughing and sooo friendly - despite the clearly very hard life they have to lead because of the extreme poverty ! And it is EXTREME ! No running water but a well or two in the village No electricity to most homes , ripped apart " roofs " , no flooring apart from sand and dust under their feet , no furniture to sit on or rugs to walk on , no toys , no shoes , not the opportunity to brush their hair even ( for some ) because they don't have a brush nor to wash their faces because they have no soap or a bowl to hold the water for a wash ...... But the poverty , dirty faces and unkempt hair is not what I "saw" first of all BUT children and families that are just that - people with a heart , love and zest for life that is sometimes difficult to find over here ...... When I was invited into this family’s home - I was shown the different " living areas " which were VERY dark areas with nothing really in it ! But I was shown around with smiles and everyone wanted to have their photo taken , the flash of it making these smiles even wider : ) x
Then we drove on to finally find " my " family with the help of a wonderful old man from the village , who helped us in " locating " them !
And then the car stopped - and on getting out - amidst a sea of childrens faces - I was trying to recognise and find the faces from my photo ! Around the corner of the wall - and there I saw " my " mum from the photo - standing proud by the entrance of her house wondering probably what the heck is going on and who am I ?! A hug I remember - and then sooooo many things happened all at once ! I was introduced as " the lady that buys the chickens" : ) and then granddad and mum in law ( who's son sadly has passed away )came up and hugged me ! And I was introduced to the children and looking for the boy - he came forward a bit shy - and I gave him his bag with things especially for him ! Then unloading of the boot and carrying everything into the house ! Lots of helping hands : ) x A Teddy Bear from my home that has found a loving new little owner : ) Lots of hugs , photos taken by Connie ( thank you C x ) - sweets given out by Nagar to all the children that made this home an open house for the day lol -and of course the fridge was delivered thanks to " Little Stars " - soooo many FANTASTIC MEMORIES and SUCH a FANTASTIC FAMILY ! I am proud and honoured to know them !!!!
And this is what I told " my " family when I left : Ana yigi taeni - wuatt - I will come back - I promise !
( I know this is not correct in spelling but was for me to remember how to pronounce it lol )
Anyway this is my story about my visit - I send my family all my love and hope they are well and please stay safe until we meet again !
PS : Chris was so moved by what he saw he donated all his money from his wallet towards the repairs of the roof - Thank you Chris you are a fantastic person : ) x “
Chris Miller’s donation was very generous and will fully cover the cost of the replacement roof for Reggie’s family’s home. We are exceptionally grateful to him. However, our building and improvement programme also had to be suspended during February but we are hoping to arrange the repair of this roof and two others plus the installation of some much needed doors in Haja Marise during March. March brings the hamaseen winds to Luxor with high humidity and huge sand storms so it is vital that we get these roofs mended as soon as possible. Humidity is a strange phenomena in desert areas but it is caused by evaporation of water from Lake Nasser being caught under clouded skies.
On another totally positive note we would like to thank all of our supporters who donated extra funds to Little Stars during February. Every penny of it is gratefully received and will be wisely used. Our increased costs have been alleviated by an improvement in the exchange rate but with the fall in tourism and consequent massive unemployment in Luxor the demands on Little Stars are increasing daily. We have suspended adding new sponsors to our family sponsorship scheme until we can be sure that those families who need the most help get priority.
During February we had a wonderful surprise in the form of a £5,000 donation from an International Foundation. This was arranged by a wonderful young man called Warwick who visited our clinic last October. The donation is to partly cover the cost of buying a minibus to transport children safely to and from the clinic, to deliver our food parcels and to collect sick children to take them to the clinic for treatment. There are many disabled children in the outer villages who are unable to come to the clinic because there are no transport facilities available to them. With our own transport we can now provide for these children. The £5,000 will cover half the cost of a second hand minibus and we have enough money in our Trust Fund to add a similar amount. The bus will be painted bright yellow so that it is easily recognisable. When further fund are available we hope to add a truck so that we can deliver building materials, beds and other items where they are necessary.
Nobody can foresee what changes the next few months will bring about in Egypt or what affect the changes will have on the population. Optimism dictates that the changes will bring about a bright future for the children in our care and that they will have better prospects of an education and a healthy life than their parents had.
In the meantime we need your support more than ever.