When I was seven, there was a little girl my age on the other side of the world who intrigued me.
She had my name, you see. Seven-year-old Grace from Kenya had been born in the same year as me, to a mother who – just like mine – saw something poetic in the name I bore.
Kenyan Grace also loved drawing, as I did. I knew this because I sent her pencils once and she sent back a card illustrated from border to border with images of things she loved: a blooming sun, a puppy, a string of family stick figures linking hands across the page.
The translated note accompanying the card told me that Grace was very proud of her picture.
But apart from our name, our age, and our favourite subject at school, Grace and I had very different lives.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by World Vision. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.
Mine most likely resembled your own upbringing, or perhaps your children’s lives now. School was a busy blur of drama (the best), maths (the worst) and role-play games at recess. Afternoons were structured, and planned by the hour: swim squad or piano class, followed by homework, capped off by the occasional ABC Kids show.
My favourite things at that young age were trips to the zoo, The Little Mermaid, and writing stories. And the life events I most dreaded? Getting needles at the doctor and unpacking the dishwasher.
Although at least I stashed away a shiny $2 coin ever week for doing the latter.
Grace went to school, too. But she’d only been there for six months, and my little brain couldn’t quite grasp why she was only in first year while I was about to start Year Three.
Grace’s chores included collecting water and firewood; she also helped look after her six siblings, because their mother was not well.
While a can of Coke was my Friday night luxury, In Grace’s country, kids were catching cholera because only six out of every ten people could even drink clean water.
While I was grumbling in anticipation of those dreaded school vaccination days, children without access to vaccines died from hepatitis, typhoid, and yellow fever in Grace’s country.