Ashley jumped as she heard the loud knock at the door. She craned her neck to see who it was, filled with curiosity. They weren't expecting visitors, especially during the pandemic. When Ashley had woken that morning, she knew the likelihood of visitors was very low despite it being her ninth birthday.
"At first, I felt sad because I thought my birthday was going to be lonely and boring," says Ashley. "But then I decided not to be sad — I was going to celebrate it with my family!" Ashley always loves to celebrate her birthday with her family, friends, cousins and classmates, but due to COVID-19 social distancing, this year had to be different.
Ashley's parents face the constant battle of poverty, meaning birthday presents or cakes aren’t a part of their family birthday activities. But as Ashley's mother opened the door the afternoon of her daughter’s birthday, she gasped with surprise.
"I heard the door and I went running to see who it was and I saw my tutor holding a birthday cake!" Ashley exclaims. "I couldn't believe it!" Together, family and friends laughed, sang and shared cake, giving Ashley a memory that she will never forget.
"The pandemic does not scare me because I am sure that God will fulfill my dreams," continues Ashley. "And now, on my birthday, I want to thank God for giving me health and life, and I also thank Jesus for giving me a family that loves me very much."