In November of 2015, we took our board and senior staff to visit
the OneSky village programs for the first time. The villagers, as you can imagine, were intrigued by these curious-looking visitors. One of them took a special interest in a member of our Board of Directors.
A very special interest…
She’s a curious child by nature, but Yimei looks so intently at what interests her because she was born with congenital cataracts and can’t see very well.
Yimei lives with her grandma, her half-sister, seven year-old Lili, and —when he is not working outside as a laborer—her grandpa.
Their home is humble – but typical of the village.
When she was only 26, Lili’s mother died of heart disease. Broken-hearted, her father remarried to give Lili a better life. It has not been a happy marriage. Grandma made the arrangements; now she is sorry she did.
When Yimei was born, there was no celebration. Grandma is the only mother the girls have ever known.
Yimei had a twin sister. Grandma still regrets bringing that elder twin home from the hospital too soon. The baby couldn’t take food, and so she died. Yimei, the tinier twin, spent the first month of her life in the hospital. Her grandma refused to take her home for fear of losing her. Even before Grandma brought her home, Yimei’s mama and daddy left the village to work.
Today they live in different cities, both far from the village. Her mama rarely comes home for a visit —only twice in two years. And never when her husband is there. Grandma says they just don’t like each other anymore.
Grandma is tough and so is Yimei. That spirit keeps them both going. But Grandma says she doesn’t know if she can give Yimei what she needs. She is illiterate. She worries because she doesn’t know how to talk to Yimei or teach her anything.
At our new OneSky family center in Yimei’s village, Grandma is learning that she has plenty to give. Every day, she discovers new simple skills she can pass on to Yimei.
The family mentor, a village mom herself, checks on them at home once a week.
And although it isn’t the way she was raised, Grandma is learning how much children like Yimei need affection. She is trying.
Still, Grandma says, Yimei longs for her parents. She believes her mama lives inside the phone. She pretends to talk to her every day.
On the rare occasions when Mama does call, Yimei tells her,“I want you to hold me.”
Yimei is only two. She is still in that magical time when all is possible. When she can still ask for a hug. OneSky will help Grandma give Yimei the loving care she needs.
And we will tell her story and the stories of other beautiful children we serve in hopes the world will come to see what we see. They are precious. Every one of them deserves a chance to dream big dreams.
As you get to know Yimei, I know you will see what we see—how loving and bright and silly and clever she is. You will see her life is full of promise.
It’s so easy to make all the difference in such a child’s life. Knowing this, why wouldn’t we try? For just like your children and mine, she holds the future in her hands.