By Steve Taylor, CFCA volunteer and sponsor
Sally Steiger is a loving woman who gratefully shares her love with William, her 11-year-old sponsored child from the Philippines, who likes to be called “Yam.”
Sally is a lector at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Newport News, Va., and a retired federal employee with more than 30 years of service.
She is also a talented musician and plays the harmonica, ukulele and keyboard.
Sally achieved all these things without the use of her eyes because she was born blind.
She wanted to meet her sponsored friend, but was unable to make the trip to the Philippines.
As a long-time friend, I offered to visit Yam when I visited my own sponsored children on CFCA’s 2012 awareness trip to the Philippines.
I wrote several letters to Yam to introduce myself and establish a relationship prior to meeting him.
Yam and I had a fantastic time as we visited Ligñon Hill Nature Park, with its 360-degree view of Legazpi and the Mayon Volcano. And we also rode on a 320-meter zip line!
We went to the mall and enjoyed the indoor playground.
In no time Yam was a striped-shirt blur as he ran, crawled, slid and rolled through a colorful mix of activities.
After spending time in Legazpi, we began a nearly three-hour ride to visit the local CFCA office serving Yam’s community.
While we were there, we enjoyed lunch prepared by the mothers of the sponsored children.
The sweet-and-sour fish was amazing.
Next came the “taxi” ride to Yam’s school to visit his teachers and classmates.
From the CFCA office, there are only two ways to get to Yam’s fishing village of approximately 100 families: travel for an hour by foot or take a 20-minute boat ride in a narrow boat with pontoons made of bamboo.
As the only sponsor to ever visit this village, there was much curiosity within the community, but even more hospitality as I was greeted by families.
Despite low incomes and lack of electricity for some, these beautiful families were proud of their community and living life to the fullest.
As much as I personally enjoyed every aspect of meeting Yam and his family, this visit was for Sally.
I talked frequently about her so Yam and his family could know her better.
My responsibility was to paint a picture in Sally’s mind of all the activities and locations so she could share equally in the experience and develop a greater relationship with Yam and knowledge of the Philippines.
I sense more of a bonding in the letters I help her send to Yam.
After returning home, Sally and I worked together to create a DVD of her various activities: reading at church, jamming at the Virginia Harmonica Convention and exercising at her aquatics classes.
We are thankful to the CFCA staff for arranging for Yam and his family to view the DVD so they could get to know Sally better.
For her part, Sally appreciated the opportunity to get to know Yam on a deeper level.
The trip was a win-win for everyone.
Get to know Sally — watch a short clip from her video!