Yvonne and her sponsor, Bridget.
Apr 29 2016

Poem reflects the power of relationship

Yvonne and her sponsor, Bridget.

Yvonne and her sponsor, Bridget.

A poem can relay emotion and meaning in a very distinctive way, and in honor of National Poetry Month, we want to share with you the poetic words of an Unbound sponsored youth and the effect they had on her sponsor.

On a recent Unbound awareness trip to Kenya, sponsor Bridget Burpee was presented with a poem written just for her. Visiting her sponsored friend, Yvonne, for the second time in her eight years of sponsorship, Bridget was warmly welcomed in Nairobi by Yvonne and her mother, Lucy.

This trip was different from her first visit eight years before. Yvonne had just lost her father in a car accident when Bridget came to visit shortly after beginning the sponsorship. At that time, Yvonne and her mother, Lucy, were hesitant about this new person coming into their lives.

“Life was really rough for them with little hope for their future,” Bridget said. “I am not sure they trusted me at first.”

Today, it’s a different story. Bridget and Yvonne’s friendship has blossomed into a trusting and connected relationship, and Bridget has grown close to Lucy as well.

But it was still a surprise when Bridget received a poem that Yvonne, now 19 years old, wrote for her. It was a powerful message of darkness to light and loneliness to friendship that brought Bridget to tears.

And she wasn’t the only one.

While visiting nearby Unbound offices with Bridget and other members of the awareness trip, on two occasions Yvonne stood up and recited her poem — from memory — to groups of up to 20 people. With unwavering confidence, she had no hesitation about sharing how her sponsorship through Unbound had changed her life, and she did so with such powerful words that every person in the room was moved to tears.

“[Yvonne] is now a confident young woman who wants to go to university next year. This was not even something her mother could ever have imagined for her,” Bridget said.

For Mary Geisz, Unbound’s director of sponsor experience, who was on the Kenya trip with Bridget and has a copy of the poem displayed at her desk, Yvonne’s words are a symbol of the relationship that could happen between every Unbound sponsor and their sponsored child or elder.

Seeing the true impact in Yvonne’s life thanks to Bridget’s faithful commitment and support, Mary said, “Every sponsor has the potential to change a life to this extent.”

Bridget has used Yvonne’s poem and the story behind it to inspire other sponsors to share their stories of sponsorship with anyone who will listen, saying, “Even if it results in just one more sponsorship, it is worth it.”

Learn more about visiting your sponsored friend at unbound.org/trips.

An excerpt from Yvonne's handwritten copy of her poem, "Thank you, thee angels, thank you."

An excerpt from Yvonne’s handwritten copy of her poem, “Thank you, thee angels, thank you.”

Thank you, thee angels, thank you

By Yvonne

I lived in a kingdom in the sea
Darker than my race, darker than ebony
And no one, not even the mightiest amongst us
Could rescue me from this, they just got swallowed in
And drowned even before I did
So I became a loner, in this sea of demons
By the kingdom in the sea, till an angel came

Her body shone as if made of gold
She stretched out her hand to me
I took it but with doubt and she got me out of the sea
Took me to a place of light
Where I could see and live
My heart is filled with love, my mouth can’t say how grateful
This was a fantasy come true
I couldn’t believe it then

But now my eyes are open, I see change, I feel it
As many more do the same to people similar to me
Tears flow unwillingly, tears of joy, tears of hope
For people similar to me
No words can express what I feel, for heart desires can’t be expressed
Thank you, again I say thank you
For bringing hope to the barren field
For curing the broken-winged bird
Now crops are growing, now the bird is flying

Look unto the beauty of this place
Look at the faces of these people
So happy, so hopeful, so successful
Look at the change, can you see what I see?
Visions of hope and success flow in their minds
Thank you, thee angels, for helping us out of our dark sea
To a land of light and hope
Words alone cannot express
The joy and gratefulness in our hearts
Thank you, thee angels, thank you

Maureen Lunn

Contributing Writer

With a master’s degree in international studies, Maureen has long been passionate about international development and loves using writing as a means to share that passion. She is a globetrotter, movie lover, Sporting KC fan, yoga teacher and self-designated crazy cat lady. Maureen and her husband, Toby, sponsor an elder in Kenya named M’Nkanatha and a young woman in Guatemala named Vivian.

One thought on “Poem reflects the power of relationship”

  1. We had the pleasure and honor of being there in Kenya, hearing Yvonne recite her beautiful, inspiring poem. I was amazed at the maturity and confidence this young woman displayed. Yvonne’s poem is a wonderful testimony of what sponsorship does to bring a person from an unfortunate situation to a much happier place. These words came straight from her heart, I wish everyone could have experienced this wonderful moment.

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