by Scott Vezzosi, Common Hope sponsor
Last week my mom and I took a trip to Guatemala to visit our sponsored child, a fifteen-year-old boy named Saulo. One of our days in Antigua, a social worker accompanied my mom and me to meet Saulo and his family. We have been sponsoring him for about five years and have been writing letters throughout that time. When we met, it was as if we were old friends just catching up, not like strangers meeting for the first time. After greeting with welcoming hugs, Saulo said to me in Spanish, “I have been waiting so long to finally meet my brother.” It was an experience that I will never forget. Awesome, amazing and wonderful can’t even come close to describing how great of an experience I had, and I strongly persuade all sponsors to visit their child. We only talked for an hour but decided to meet up the over the next few days.
The Common Hope facility is only a short bus ride away from many of the families, which allows them to stay in close contact with the foundation. My mom and I were volunteering at the facility but also ended up having some free time throughout the day. Two of my days there I played soccer on a little field at the facility with Saulo and some other kids. Even though my Spanish is limited, I had a great time and really felt like I connected with Saulo and the rest of his family. They were incredibly welcoming and friendly and were extremely gracious for our contribution and sponsorship. Saulo’s mother told us how he has been asking when his sponsors would come visit him, and I could tell how much it meant to him to finally meet us in person. It was an amazing trip and something that I will never forget. I too now have a brother.
The staff and volunteers at Common Hope, as well as the natives in Guatemala, are unbelievably nice, polite and soft spoken. I joked with my mom that Guatemala beats Minnesota Nice 100 times over. It was truly a life-changing experience.