Unbound Awareness Trips
Jan 6 2014

Sealing the family bond: One sponsor’s trip to India

Awareness trips

Steve Taylor, Unbound sponsor, meets his sponsored friend Nathasha on an awareness trip to India.

Akansha Roy, Unbound communication center liaison in India, and Steve Taylor, Unbound sponsor, contributed information to this report.

For the past 18 months or so, Steve Taylor of Virginia and his sponsored friend, Nathasha from India, have exchanged countless letters. In a previous blog post, Steve and Nathasha expressed how they feel like family, even though they had never met.

Well, they still feel like family, but they can finally say they have met one another!

During the Unbound October awareness trip, Steve traveled to Hyderabad, India, to visit Nathasha.

On the way to her home, Steve reminisced about their letters. His eagerness to finally meet such a dear friend was obvious.

“My anticipation of meeting Nathasha wasn’t like meeting a stranger. It was with a comfort of meeting someone I knew well and cared about very much,” Steve said.

As they neared the neighborhood Steve recognized Nathasha waiting for them. Nathasha led her guests down a narrow lane to the home she shares with her grandmother, uncle and younger sister.

Steve with Nathasha's family.

Steve with Nathasha’s family.

Steve had inquired in a letter about cultural greeting customs before they embarked on the trip. Nathasha had assured him she and her family were comfortable with the hugs and handshakes from her American friends.

“The hugs with the family were better than anything I could have anticipated,” Steve said. “It sealed the ‘family’ bond.”
Steve was enthused by the love the family possessed for one another. He said her grandmother was the pillar of strength and her uncle was hardworking.

After a prayer, Nathasha and Steve discussed Nathasha’s future plans of becoming a nurse, and Steve shared photos of his home and family. He brought along gifts for Nathasha and each member of her family, including treats for her dog.

In turn, Nathasha’s sister, Akansha, prepared a delicious meal for their guests. There was the famous biriyani (rice cooked with marinated chicken with 32 spices), fried fish, curry and roti (Indian bread).

“The trip provided the opportunity to have a context for the cultural influences that are difficult for sponsors to understand but which directly impact the hopes of our sponsored friends,” Steve said.

As they toured the house, Steve was filled with curiosity about Nathasha’s life. He knew she wanted to learn to play the guitar, but wondered why she had not chosen this as part of her sponsorship benefits. Nathasha, instead, pragmatically chose to buy a sewing machine, so they might earn some additional money from tailoring.

“My sister is very creative and she is the one who operates the machine,” she said.

Steve and Nathasha's sister, Akansha.

Steve and Nathasha’s sister, Akansha.

The visit was an opportunity for Steve, the family and staff to talk about a future free of poverty. It was then that Steve decided to sponsor her sister, Akansha, to further help the family.

Steve had a glow on his face as he left. He thanked Nathasha and her family for their hospitality. As they each said their goodbyes, the smiles on their faces were genuine.

Related links:

Sponsor a child today!

Read Steve’s personal awareness trip experience

Unbound’s 2014 awareness trip schedule

2 thoughts on “Sealing the family bond: One sponsor’s trip to India”

  1. We had a talk several weeks ago at St Francis of Assasi Church in Wichita Ks by Father Jerome Beat who was my CCD teacher some 50 years ago when I was a freshman in high school; so we have known him forever. We have 9 grandchildren so are interested in getting one sponcership,either a girl between 10 and 12 that the two oldest girl grandkids could relate to. Or a 6 to 8 year old boy would work for the 2 oldest boys to write to. The older girl would be our favorite. Also Carolyn and I will be in Costa Rico and Panama between July 20th and August 1st. We would consider helping your staff down there for 1 or 2 days and also meet the potential family that you would connect us with.
    Last year we spent time in the Czeck Republic and Poland so we like to get away for good causes or seeing all the churches over there..
    Thanks, Duane & Carolyn Bergkamp

    1. Thank you for your post, Duane. We are so glad that you and Fr. Beat both feel strongly about the work of Unbound! We have many girls, ages 10-12, waiting for a sponsor, as well as boys from ages 6-8. Please feel free to look through the profiles of kids waiting for sponsorship on our website. You can even filter the results by gender and age . Once you find someone you would like to sponsor, our Sponsor Services team would be happy to help you plan an Individual Sponsor Visit so you can visit your sponsored friend. You can call to speak with someone about your visit at 1-800-875-6564.

      Thanks again,
      Christina P., Sponsor Services

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