The name sounded like it came with a story, and it did.
When I first met the smaller than average five-year-old and heard his name, it sounded a little humorous. But as I heard his story, that name – “Noboy” – began to make tragic sense.
It seems that every child in the impoverished village of Red Hill, South Africa, receives a nickname that sticks with them for life. I had already spoken with a “Man-Man” and a “Twe-Twe,” also small children who understood very little English. Now I was seated across from “Noboy,” looking into his big, brown eyes and wondering face, his feet dangling from the adult-sized chair.
With my Xhosa-speaking interpreter, I set about to ask “Noboy” our standard list of sponsorship questions: Tell me about your family? When is your birthday? What are your favorite things to do? What is your favorite food? What do you want to be when you grow up?, etc. Every question appeared to fly over “Noboy’s” head as much as middle school math flies over mine. Without the patient and gentle persistence of Kennedy, one of the village’s local pastors, we might still be sitting there sizing each other up!
After exhausting my list of questions, Kennedy told me things about “Noboy” that could never have been elicited from my prepared questions.
“Noboy” was essentially a social orphan. His mother was dead and his father was somewhere on the Eastern Cape. When his grandparents weren’t drinking, he lived in their home, though as often as not, he roamed around the village from daylight to dusk, taken in and fed by any family who might be able and so inclined.
Red Hill is a mountain village, insulated to a large degree from the violence that plagues the other inner-city slums like Masiphumele and Oceanview, though the children do go to school in those places. Still, it is not without its own dangers. Another of the little boys I interviewed had lost a brother to a cobra bite.
What a cruel twist of fate to name this child, “Noboy.” No boy. Nobody. However you read it, life had conspired to prophesy a dismal future for him.
With the formal addition of South Africa to our list of service countries, JMI is looking for sponsors for children like “Noboy.” Not just any sponsors…JMI sponsors! The kind who will faithfully pray over them; faithfully write them; faithfully encourage them to know that they are Somebodies, infinitely and particularly loved by a heavenly Father; the One who has made the poor a blessing; the One calling you to be a blessing.
Will you take the time to look at our new children’s faces and read their sacred stories? Will you be the one to claim one of them as your own sponsored child? And will you pronounce over them – over and over again – the blessing that has been lost and tearfully sought after by the poor in spirit since Esau lost the blessing of his father Isaac?
We will be launching this sponsorship program in the coming months! If you are interested in getting updates on child sponsorship in South Africa, fill out these 3 questions and we will be in touch! This does NOT bind you to sponsoring a child. Be a part of the work of redemption in a child’s life!
Contact JMI Sponsorship Director, Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.