A few words. A small portion of a sentence, stopping me mid-read and swooping air out of my lungs.
Walking by the desk in our living room, I glanced at the thank-you note my younger brother wrote to our grandma for his birthday money. In his small, slanted handwriting, he wrote:
Thank you for the birthday money. I am going to put it in the bank and save it so I can put it toward my dream of IT.
It froze me, shivers shooting up my spine and echoing in my head, hammering my heart. I read those lines again, read slowly, tasted the ink of his pen and the lines he etched into the card that will travel thousands of miles to the other side of the country, keeping his dream in the air.
My dream of IT.
He has a dream. He’s 15 years old, and his dream is shiny, large and looming. He can reach out with strong and sure fingers and touch it. With the support of his family and the savings account that slowly grows, once he graduates from high school and college doors open, he can easily walk into higher education, reaching for higher dreams, higher rungs on his life’s ladder.
He is able to pursue his dreams because he is surrounded by countless opportunities that not only allow him to plant a vision for his future in the soil of his heart, but allow that vision to grow and bloom into a beautiful reality.
I hold a photograph in my hand and am taken to another place that seems so far but still burns brightly in my mind. To a small room, stuffy and void of air circulation. A room with six coral blue, plastic chairs set in a row and six shy, eager faces pouring over folded study guides. Behind them, transparent covers rest on blocky monitors. It is a computer class in Ciudad Sandino, at one of the child development centers I visited on my Compassion sponsor trip to Nicaragua.
The children are similar in age to my brother, and they share similar laughs and quiet smiles when we ask them about their learning. They want to learn computers, the basic commands and programs that we are taught early on.
These kids yearn to find knowledge, to soak information into their heads and fill themselves with practical skills that will help them one day find jobs to sustain them, giving them a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
We have unlimited technology and potential at our fingertips, and we don’t even think twice about the access we have. The children in Nicaragua, and in similar centers around the world, might never have the chance to even dream if not for the loving guidance of God and the encouragement of Compassion. Poverty rules tightly over towns, and in some cases, responsibility for family sets in and shoves any hopes for education out of the hearts of the young.
But in that white-tiled room, with heat collecting in the corners, kids slip into their seats, pencils poised and eager eyes trained on the teacher. Here, in a small space in another part of the world, children with dreams brush their hands across keyboards and imagine possibilities they might never assemble if they weren’t enrolled in Compassion, if they didn’t have support from their sponsors and assistance from their teachers.
I close up my brother’s letter and place it back on the desk. I smile slowly, happy that he’s found his dream and is stretching his wings to follow it. Happy his home allows him to focus on schoolwork in a safe, encouraging environment, happy God has given him the tools and doors to make a life.
Somewhere, a young man very similar to him is dreaming of IT too. He has the same sparkle in his eye when he thinks of computers, and just celebrated a birthday. And when he walks the dirt roads of his town, he imagines the words he will write to his sponsor:
Thank you for the birthday money, and for your letter. I am going to school to learn so I can pursue my dream of IT.
My dream of IT.