My name is Breanna Gaona and I am 2 years old. I applied for a passport when I was a week old and arrived in India during my second month of life. I have traveled with my parents to India, Nepal, Uganda, China, Thailand, Dubai, and Mexico during the past 2 ½ years. I recently started talking, so I thought I would take a turn in sending an update from my vantage point.
Summer With Sudanese Refugees
Our family spent the summer in Uganda, Africa. As you may have heard, there are now close to 1 million Sudanese Refugees that have left South Sudan to find safety in Uganda. We were able to go to the Refugee Camp every week, visit people, pray for them, host church services, distribute hygiene kits and tell them that they are loved by the Creator of the world. Last year, I was strapped to my mom’s back in a carrier every time we went. But, this summer I was able to walk on my own and that helped me in making a connection with the people. I brought my own children’s bible and when my parents were sharing with people I would read stories to the kids (in my own way since I can’t read yet).
Another thing I did without anyone asking me was to show many of the refugee ladies all of the items in the hygiene kits. My mom would often be busy explaining to the hundreds of people, but I would go and sit next to one lady in each place we went. I would take out the items one by one and show her the tooth brush, tooth paste, soap, bandages and the paper with encouragement from God’s Word.
In one of our last visits to the refugee camp, I got an idea. The camp is full of mud huts and they use a curtain or piece of material in place of the door. I thought it would be fun to run into peoples home unexpectedly and surprise them. However, the kids in the hut must have thought they saw a ghost because they ran out of the hut crying and screaming. My mom didn’t think that was a good idea, but it was a fun adventure at least for the day.
I sang, clapped and danced with Sudanese refugees. I smiled, hugged and let a lot of people touch my hair in an effort to bring laughter and love to people who are suffering in the refugee camp.
Most weekdays, my mom would go to various schools where the Promise Children are enrolled to meet with them. Many times I would also go with my mom to school. Her and her friends would take pictures of the children, meet with each kid to find out how they are doing, pray for them and then give them a chance to draw a picture or write a thank you letter to their sponsor. The coloring station was my favorite part, unless of course there were goats, chickens and cows that I could chase on the school grounds.
Things You May Wonder About Me…
How do I do traveling on long plane rides?
Thankfully I can sleep anywhere including planes and cars. It also helps that people are always nice to us, give me gifts on the plane and as many snacks as I want. My parents don’t limit the amount of cartoons I watch while we are flying which is nice on the 16 hour flights. It’s not fun being stuck in a seat for a long time, but my daddy walks with me around the plane and I hang out with the flight crew to pass the time as well.
Do I have friends my age to play with?
Yes, in Uganda I have Ida, Jazzy, Ian and Zachery that I play with several times a week. I also go to children’s church and there are 100 friends in the class to play with. There are tons of kids in the village who are friendly and always want to play with me anytime my mom will let me. The cool thing in Uganda is the people are very friendly and welcome kids just about anywhere. I got to play soccer this summer for the first time and the missions compound where we stay in Uganda has lots of open grass to play.
How do people react to my white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair?
People often smile and a sense of laughter comes over them when they see me. Majority have never seen a white child, especially with blonde hair. They often tell my parents that I look just like a doll. As we travel the world, many strangers stop us and ask to take pictures with me. I have taken hundreds of selfies with people I didn’t know until they stopped us in the airport, grocery store, bank or out around town. The cool part is that my parents get a chance to meet people they would otherwise never have met before.
How is life different in Uganda vs. America?
In Uganda, I sleep under a mosquito net each night. People eat the same thing everyday and they often times don’t have enough. There is not as much stuff – the homes have a few basics for cooking, sleeping and maybe one change of clothes. I take a bath in a large bucket or basin since they don’t have bath tubs. The kids don’t have parks, libraries, birthday parties and very few toys. But, this just means they have to be more creative in making cars out of plastic bottles, jump ropes out of tall grass braided together and balls from plastic bags and ropes. They have something called malaria that you can get if a mosquito bites you and it makes you very sick. Thankfully because of your prayers I have not gotten malaria. Despite the many differences, I love the music, the smiles, the friendliness, the warmth of the people, the farm life, the kids, the villages and I love that wherever my parents are….THAT IS HOME! Our family got to travel this summer in Uganda to schools, churches, hospitals, refugee camps, homes and sports gatherings sharing the good news and spiritually building up lives and helping people who are hurting and the best part is….WE DO IT TOGETHER!
Life on Mission
My daddy went to India for a few weeks after we finished summer in Uganda (more on India in the next update). He is back now and we are together in So. CA until we head to Nepal in early November for the remainder of the year.
I think I have a pretty amazing life. I know God has a special plan for me. Our family thanks God all the time and prays often for those who love and support us. Thank you for letting me be your pint sized missionary and I do think the Gaona Family prayer cards got cuter when I came onto the scene (let us know if you want one).
O’tay…huggies, knuckles and I will blow you kissies!
(On behalf of our family – Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona)