Four bare feet scamper across the dusty wooden boards. Weâre sat in the home of twin brothers Kittikom and Kittikoon and weâve just asked them what their prized possessions are. They waste no time explaining, and rush to grab a basket full of marbles which they carefully carry back.
âWe kept our marbles very well,â says Kittikom proudly. âWe know and remember which marbles belong to who. We thankful to God. We are so happy.â
Growing up in this remote village on the Thailand-Myanmar border has not been easy for the two seven-year-olds. A few years ago, their older brother passed away, followed shortly by their father. A game of marbles may seem simple but for Kittikom and Kittikoon itâs a chance to be children and have fun playing with their friends.
Whatâs your most prized possession?
From a water buffalo to a first birthday gift, we asked eight other children what items they valued most.
My prized possession: A treasured memory
Tui is 10-years-old and lives with his grandfather. The items heâs most thankful for are his bike and his Bible.
His bike was a gift from his father who came to visit last January. This is the only gift Tui has ever received from his father and itâs important because itâs the one memory he has of his father.
His second item, a childrenâs picture Bible in the Karen language was a giftÂ thanks to his Compassion child sponsorship.Â
I love to read Godâs story. The other Bibles Iâve seen donât have cartoons or pictures, only texts, but my new Bible is full colour and has kids animation pictures inside. Iâm so excited and I read it every day and take it to church.
Every Compassion-sponsored child receives an age appropriate Bible or portion of scripture from their project. Like Tuiâs, it will be in their native language.
A best friend who always wanted to play
Ramina lives in a slum community on the outskirts of Dhaka city, Bangladesh. âI love my doll, which is like my best friend who is always beside me. When I get the opportunity, I take my doll to the school to show it to my friends and we play together. When no one is around to play with, my doll has always been with me.â
It provides safely in a storm
For seven-year-old Jake and his father Junel, their most valuable possession is a pump-boat. Before they received this gift from Jakeâs sponsor, Junel feared for his life each time he took his small paddle boat out to sea.
âI was afraid for my life,â says Junel. âIf a storm broke, I could not paddle back to shore quickly enough to save myself.â
The family have named their boat âTriple Jâ for their three sons, James, Jopel and Jake.
A person is greater than any possession
Nine-year-old Ravelaâs parents have a very limited income. Her father works in a bike shop and her mother is a housemaid. Despite working hard, their income barely covers food for the family.
âMy parents canât afford to buy things whenever I want or request [them] because the money is just for buying food and renting a board house,â reveals Ravela.
As a young girl Ravela longed to have a doll like her friends, so when her aunty gave her two pink bunny dolls, she was delighted.
âMy aunty gave me the pink bunny dolls and I really like them. I never had a doll before; the dolls are cute because they are pink and a couple,â says Ravel.
For Ravel, thereâs someone whoâs even more special than her doll. âEven though I really like my pink bunny doll, I allow my friends to play with it when they are gathering at my house. One thing that I love and adore more than the doll is my mother. I think the bunny doll could be replaced by something or another doll but not my mother, I really love her and no one could replace her. I adore my mother because she is working every day and always smiling,â Ravel tells us with a giggle.
My very first birthday gift
Aekreetoo is eight-year-old and lives in a rural village near the Thailand-Myanmar border. At home Aekreetoo doesnât have any toys to play with, so going to his Compassion project on Saturday is a special time because he can play with his friends and the toys at the project.
His most prized possession is his Karen shirt, the very first birthday present he ever received, which came from his Compassion sponsor.
âI never had any birthday gifts before in my life. This is my first birthday gift. I am so happy and joyful. I am proud. This is the first time I received one,â exclaims Aekreetoo
In Karen culture, wearing these traditional shirts to church is a sign of respect and dignity towards the tribe.
A surprising answer
When we asked what his most prized possession was, Gaudencio pointed eagerly to a carabao (water buffalo), a gift from his sponsor. Itâs precious because no other 12-year-boy from a rural farming community in the Philippines could even dream of owning a carabao.
âI canât imagine farming without a carabao,â says Cecilia, Gaudencioâs mum. âI canât overstate how helpful this is to our family. It is, of course, easier to till the land and plant some crops with a carabao. Not many families here own one, and this one is owned by a 12-year-old boy,â says Cecilia laughing.
Gaudencio helps the family farm by taking care of his âpetâ. He leads the carabao to feed in the field, finds puddles for it to drink and even gives it a bath!
A faithful companion
Adelia lives in Pampang, Indonesia. Her prized possession is her dog Kopi which means coffee. In her community, having a dog is a useful house keeper as they guard the house while the family works in the field.
âI love to play with my friends and Kopi after we get back from school,â says Adelia, âKopi loves to lick our hands, feet and face. Kopi is my friend because he is always good with me.â
A place not a possession
Remarkable siblings, Pimchanok, Karn, and Rada have lived with their grandparents in TataFung village for around six years. Their parents dropped them there to live, but after one visit they separated and havenât been back since. When the siblings arrived, they spoke Burmese but have since learnt two new languages - Karen and Thai.
Their grandparents live by the river and as well as learning new languages Pimchanok, Karn, and Rada have learnt how to swim.
â[The river] is one of our most prized possessions that we ever had,â Pimchanok says with a smile.Â
âWe didnât know how to swim when we first moved to our grandparentâs village. We had to learn by ourselves. We love swimming so much and get so excited every evening in the summer and dry season that we can go to swim at the river. It is only safe for us to swim at the river for a few months a year when the water decreases to the level where sand and rocks are visible. Otherwise the water is always too high and has an extremely strong current [making it] too dangerous and risky.â
Many of the possessions the children treasured the most were made possible through child sponsorship and extra gift giving. If you sponsor a child, we want to say a big thank you. We hope youâve been encouraged by the impact and difference youâre making.