As the plane touched down on the tarmac, my heart started beating faster. I was finally in Tanzania, where my husband and I were about to meet Gloria, the girl we have been sponsoring for more than nine years through children’s charity World Vision.
As we waited to leave the busy Kilimanjaro International airport, I took a few moments to take it all in.
I was still unsure that we would actually meet Gloria. A month earlier, I had received a letter from her mother saying that Gloria was attending a secondary school in the city of Arusha. Although I was thrilled to hear this, I was afraid it would mean we could not meet her – it would take Gloria seven hours by bus to return home, and we wouldn’t want to disturb her studies.
However, my excitement grew when I saw the itinerary for the whole week: Not only were we visiting Gloria’s family at their home, but we were also to meet Gloria at her school on our last day back in Arusha.
Although it seemed a long time to wait, there was so much to see and experience and time went by very quickly.
We travelled to Kisiriri, a large area in the country’s Singida Region, where Gloria’s family lives. During the journey, my imagination ran wild and my head was filled with questions. What would their house be like? How is their health and work? Would Gloria’s brothers be home?
When we reached our destination, Gloria’s parents recognised us immediately and warmly welcomed us into the house where Gloria’s brothers were waiting. I had brought copies of Gloria’s photos World Vision had sent me over the years. Her brothers smiled to see Gloria when she was very young. I also showed them a photo book with pictures of our family and of England. They were very interested in the photos, and especially pleased to see our grandson.