I dream of the day I can visit Uganda and meet Lucky face to face. Until then, I came up with a fun way to take a tour of Lucky’s village. Want to take a tour of your child’s village, too? Here is how you can do it, my friend.
Read #3 of this Compassion blog post to learn how to “Explore the World” on the awesome Compassion app.
I much prefer using a desktop when designing so I used the app to find Lucky’s location, and then found the location on Google Maps on my desktop. Depending on the terrain, size, and spatial elements of your child’s village, you will need to play around with the zoom to determine the best images. For my letter, I chose three different views.
Next, I took screenshots of the maps (I like using the snipping tool personally) and saved as image files.
Once I had my three images (Map 1, Map 2, and Map 3) that I felt represented the best views of Lucky’s village, I uploaded them to PicMonkey, made a few adjustments, used a grid overlay, and added an x-axis and y-axis to create a grid.
To protect Lucky’s privacy, I am using an aerial view of Disney Land as an example.
Once I had my images transformed into grids, I wrote Lucky via Compassion’s online template. I gave him instructions on how to plot coordinates on a grid in case he has not studied this in school. Here is how I explained the process to Lucky:
Do you know how to read a grid? The horizontal row with letters is referred to as the x-axis. The vertical row with numbers is referred to as the y-axis. You always read the x-axis first. When you see a building or area on the map you would like to tell me about: Read across the x-axis first to find the letter that lines up with the square of the location you choose, then read the y-axis to find the number that lines up with the square. The point where the x-axis intersects with the y-axis will be the coordinates of the location you would like to tell me about.
A few tips
You might want to place your x-axis at the bottom, and create your y-axis to read in descending numbers. The layout in the example that I used was due to the images of Lucky’s village. This placement worked better for me to show more buildings and areas I saw on the map.
If your child does not know English, you might want to consider using the alphabet and numbers in their language to make it easier for them to read.
The image I thought was the best view I titled Map 1 and attached it to a photo page in the online letter writing tool. On the second photo page, I attached Map 2 and Map 3.
Here is the example and explanation I wrote in Lucky’s letter if you need some help with wording.
For example, on Map 1: the big, long building near the middle of the map (where the 2 white lines intersect) – if you wanted to tell me about this building, you would tell me to look at Map 1 (O,10) in a letter. Then, I can plot the coordinates on my copy of the graph and know where you would like to show me. I hope I have not confused you too much. It is kind of difficult to explain these instructions in a letter so you might need assistance from a tutor if you have not learned about grids already in school. I thought this idea might be a fun way where you can give me a tour and show me your favorite areas, important locations to you, your school, church, home, where you get water, where you farm, play…wherever you would like to show me and teach me.
Creating a Grid with PicMonkey
Here is a cheat sheet I created to help you turn your maps into grids if you are not familiar with PicMonkey or need assistance. If graphics are not your thing, that is okay. You could print your images on graph paper, print on plain paper and draw a grid on the pictures, and send via snail mail or scan and upload to an online template.
This letter serves several purposes:
Educational – Teaching how to read maps and plot coordinates on a grid. This also provides a child, that has difficulty with coming up with ideas to write about in their letters, an easy letter topic.
Relationship Building – Showing interest in your child’s village shows you value them. You want to learn everything about them. They are somebody. Their world is important to you. You appreciate their country and culture. This lesson places the child in an authority role as an educator teaching you about where they live which should boost their confidence. Hopefully, it will excite them to figure out locations on a map and help them open up by sharing with you.
As a sponsor, I think it will be so interesting to see Lucky’s average day visually through a map.
Be sure to keep copies of the maps you make (especially if you go the snail mail route), so you have a reference when your child writes back.