Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Worlds Apart

Recently my husband and I decided to sponsor a child through WorldVision. It is something we've considered doing in the past, but for one reason or another (mostly my procrastination and shameful lack of generosity) we didn't. Recently, my husband came home and said, "We need to sponsor a child through WorldVision!" Thank goodness for that man. Without him, I shudder to think how limited my generosity would be. It's something I'm working on.

How does one choose a child? Out of the literally millions of poor, impoverished and hungry children in the world, how do you choose one? We decided to choose a child with the same birthday as our oldest son, with the hope and plan that we'll soon add two more, also sharing birthdays with our other two kids. It seemed as good criteria as any we could come up with.

So I searched the website for a boy with my son's birthday. And we found Thapelo.

He is five years old, living in Lisotho, in southern Africa. It's a country devastated by the AIDS epidemic. Entire communities have been devastated by the disease, leaving children orphaned, farms unplanted, food in short supply. His profile lists his health as "satisfactory," whatever that actually means. He lives with his mother, two sisters and a brother.

I don't even know her name, but I think of Thapelo's mother often. We share a bond of motherhood, made just a tiny bit more special because we labored and delivered a child on the same day. Her joy was my joy. Except each morning, I get up and go to my well stocked refrigerator and pull out fresh eggs. I take out bread and pop it in the toaster, and pour a cup of fresh, cold milk. I hand my son a healthy breakfast as I prepare to send him off to preschool, and most days I don't even think twice about it.

I have no idea what she has to feed her son.

I think of her often. While I worry about whether we'll have to miss picture day for D's baseball team, does she worry about whether she'll be able to feed her children that day? While I fill out forms to register D for his free education, does she worry about whether her son will ever learn to read? Or how she'll pay for his school uniform?

I do feel good that we are going to begin helping them with our sponsorship. I have faith that this organization is, and will continue, to do good in their community, and Thapelo and his mother will benefit. I hope to receive news that he gets to go to school someday... that his community has a source of safe, clean drinking water... that they have enough to eat. I don't know how much is possible through that measly little $35 we send each month, but I hope it is something. I hope it helps ease the burden Thapelo's mother must feel every day.

I live with the joy of knowing my children are not going to go hungry, will be cared for when they are sick, and have every opportunity to grow and thrive. She does not. Each day I need to strive to remember how lucky I am, how lucky we are. And pray for sweet little Thapelo and his family. It is, quite literally, the least we can do.

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