The One Essential Item to Pack on an International Trip

There are some faces you will never forget. Some experiences that will always be imprinted on your mind. I'm always amazed at how much travel can take you out of your comfort zone but at the same time it feels just like home. Smiles speak the same language and people are people regardless of their skin tone or life situations. We all have a story to tell. Packing for a trip across the world takes some thought. I usually start a pile of things I don't want to forget to pack {use this list to help} and add to it as I go, but now, I have one more thing that I would always add to a packing list. It doesn't take up much room in your suitcase, but when you bring it, your heart will grow at least two sizes when you see the wonder and joy it brings. 

The One Essential Item to Pack on an International Trip

I can still hear the giggles from the children in Africa the first time I showed them the back of my camera. We were visiting a World Vision community project in rural Uganda and many of these children had never seen their face looking back at them with the exception of a reflection in the dirty water sources they were gathering to drink from. They would cover their mouths in glee while laughing and pointing at themselves and their friends.

As I started packing for my trip to Bangladesh I included a photo album with pictures of our family to leave with my sponsored child Rabiya who lives in an elevated slum area perched above water just outside of Dhaka. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to be able to leave something more?

My daughter has a small printable HP Sprocket that I thought might be perfect. The Sprocket is an on-the-go portable printer that uses Bluetooth to connect to your photo stream. But wait! I found something better! HP now has a 2-in-1 Photo Printer and Camera. I could easily take photos of the kids I met and then leave a little piece of me behind so that they could remember the visit.

The kids pretty much thought the camera was magic! They had never seen anything like it. I would be inside a home visiting a child and then kids would gather outside the door. The word "selfie" seems to translate and pretty much means picture to all of the kids, so everywhere I went, as soon as I took out the HP Sprocket 2-in-1, I would hear "selfie, selfie!". 

If there is one thing I've learned from visiting World Vision projects in the field, it's that you should never make promises you can't keep. Don't say I'll come visit again because you might not. And while I wanted to promise all the time that I would send all the kids photos from our visit, I knew that wasn't possible until now! 

I could print out the photo and hand it over to the children or the mothers and they would have something from our visit when there wasn't much else I could leave behind besides my heart.

I had a chance to meet and visit with the child I sponsor. At only four years old, Rabiya has quite the story.

Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her and her twin brother Fahim in the dirty slum that they live in. Her father left and her elderly grandparents who were in poor health already struggling to provide for themselves took the infants in but were tempted with an offer by a foreign couple to buy their babies. They were offered more money than they had ever made in a lifetime but decided to raise the children as best as they could. Rabiya's grandfather takes good care of her while Fahim lives close by with an aunt. 

Daycare isn't a thing in the slums, and children are often left alone for hours at a time if paid work becomes available. This leaves children as young as two alone to wander the dirty area built on rickety stilts over up to eight feet of water for hours at a time. 

Just this past summer, Rabiya and Fahim were playing with their cousin and were too young to explain that the little girl went missing. After four hours the family noticed the child was missing and assumed that she had been one of the 1500 children that is trafficked every day into India. Eight hours later, the family found the body of the child drowned. Children are literally slipping through the cracks!

I am so grateful that Rabiya won't be one of them! When a child is selected by their community for child sponsorship as the most vulnerable, someone is now watching so that they won't slip through the cracks anymore. 

I left a picture of me, Rabiya, Fahim and their grandfather with them to let them know that I was watching. I'd be sending letters to Rabiya and World Vision staff would be checking in on their family to help them plug into the community to get their needs met. It's an amazing thing child sponsorship and you can be part of it too! You can find a child who is the most vulnerable and you can help keep them from slipping through the cracks!

I'm grateful that I was able to not only leave a little piece of my heart behind in the slums of Bangladesh, but I was also able to leave behind a piece of me, a picture of the four of us, so that Rabiya knows that even around the world, someone sees her.

And that my friends, is why I think the HP Sprocket 2-in-1 camera is the absolute best thing you could pack on an international trip. If you've ever met a child in a foreign land, you will know that those smiles are priceless and that this camera is invaluable! 

disclaimer: HP sent me a 2-in-1 Sprocket and film to take with me on my trip. All opinions are 100% my own. I would recommend this even if they hadn't sent me this camera. Promise!

1 comment

Lucy G. Nichols said...

Thank you for your story about your sponsored child. We sponsor 4 children. Two through Gospel for Asia and two through Compassion. How fortunate you were to be able to go visit your sponsored child. And thank you for the blog about the HP Sprocket camera. I will certainly check it out. The pictures of the children were fantastic. Beautiful children.

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