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« Expectations: Part 2 | Main | The Wait Begins... »

Expectations: Part 1

Every so often, someone from our project staff visits our headquarters. I absolutely love these
visits – I always learn something new about the country, and my desire to continue in this ministry is refreshed.

Last week, I spoke with a project staff person about this blog and its purpose, she asked me some very pointed questions. Basically, they boiled down to this: what do I expect from my sponsored child’s letters?

That’s such a good question. I often look at things through such an American lens. In my western world, communication is easy, natural, and fast. I’m accustomed to writing something every day – that’s a huge part of my job. And when I come home from work, there’s more communication poking out of my mailbox.

Do you know how many pieces of mail the United States Post Office processed in 2011?

177 billion pieces of mail.

That's well over 500 pieces of mail per person in the U.S.

Okay, maybe that’s not so astonishing. Between the bills and magazine and flyers for stores and services, receiving mail is a daily occurrence in the US.

So how much mail do people in your sponsored children’s country receive? Here’s a snapshot:

In 2008, Kenyans received an average of 2.4 items.
Ethiopia: 0.14 an item (remember, this is over the course of a year).
Jordan, just over 2.
Lebanon? 3.
Swaziland averages 8 – but there are just over one million people there.
The Dominican Republic averages 0.37 per person.

And in Cambodia, where my sponsored child Sovanna lives? One tenth of an item!

Our postal system and our expectations for receiving mail are an anomaly when compared to the rest of the world. Your letter may be the only piece of mail your sponsored child – or anyone else in their family – has ever received. Communication in your sponsored child’s country, let alone letter-writing, is not as easy or as frequent as you might think.

For your sponsored child, mail is such a rarity that it’s treasured, but seldom is it considered a piece of communication. Your sponsored child may not realize that this is one part of a conversation, or that they are expected to respond to it in kind. A letter isn’t an exchange, it’s a gift, a prize… an honor.

And that leads up to other ideas that influence your sponsored child’s letter writing. (see part 2)

Statistics from the Universal Postal Union database,

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    NFL is genuinely one of the greatest sports in America. It has a significant following.
  • Response
    One Child Matters - Child Sponsorship - Sponsor’s Journal - Expectations: Part 1
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