WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- The group Compassion International has brought a unique, immersive experience to Iowa to give people a look at what it is like to live in some of the world’s poorer nations.
The Compassion Experience is set inside semi-truck trailers as a series of small rooms with authentic furnishings. It even emulates things such as the aroma of a bamboo hut. The exhibit is located at Valley Church on Fuller Road.
“Actually at the beginning you will step foot into another room and you get set up with a headset and an iPod,” said Monica Foutty, of Compassion International. “On that headset and iPod, you get to hear the story of a child who grew up in extreme poverty.”
The experience tells the story of three real children and their struggles to live in poverty. It explains how having a sponsor helped to give hope to these kids.
“This is our home, our little hut. I live here with my mom and dad, my sister and many aunts and uncles,” said Kiwi’s voice on the iPod.
"We are currently in the Philippines. This story is about a girl Kiwi who grew up in the Philippines and right now we’re in a bamboo hut where she spent much of her time during her childhood," said Foutty, as she led a tour into one of the rooms.
“Mom says something has to change soon. Rice fills our bellies but it will not keep us alive forever,” said the child’s voice on the iPod.
“It’s sad that some of the kids have to go through things like this all the time, but I like the outcome that he was successful,” said Larry Young, of Des Moines, who toured the exhibit.
“[We're] hoping to get as many kids sponsored as possible,” said Foutty. “Sponsorship is an awesome relationship that you can build with a child who could be all the way across the world.
The event is free of charge and runs through Monday.