Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sponser a child.

So, I was surfing the web, avoiding studying for tests and putting off writing papers that are due soon, (in fact papers and tests that are still due soon) and I found the website, Children.org. I want desperatly to move to Kenya and volunteer there and teach, but between being a full-time student, being pretty broke, and having a dog, I can't really afford it. I like to live vicariously through my website browsing.

Well, I looked through the Children.org website, and it is a little strange. What you can do is choose a country, choose an age, and choose a gender. Then you see photos of children and you pick one to sponsor. This felt wrong to me, something about flipping casually through photos of children and arbitrarily picking one based on what they looked like just seemed a little too much like going to the zoo. (They also have little ten word blurbs about the children, and their family's monthly income.) And as I'm clicking through, if I'm being totally honest, I'm thinking to myself, couldn't they spend a little more time on photos? I mean, I found myself clicking on kids who were smiling. Shouldn't the person taking the photo know that a smiling face could mean the difference between this child getting picked or not? And therefor, between this child getting an education, health care, clothing, and regular meals?

Then I felt a little sick about being the person who makes the decision which child gets to get a sponsorship that would change their life, and which child doesn't. (Which child has to keep begging on the streets and not getting enough to eat at the end of the day, much less an education. Then I felt sick about the vast disparity between their lives and mine, and the money I spend on a regular basis on my dog.) So what I ended up doing was inserting a country, (Zambia) and a gender (girl) and simply choosing the first girl that came up.

Nyamgu lives with her three siblings and their mother, and family of five lives on 25 dollars a month. She is ten years old, but looks a lot older. At first I thought she looked about 14. I think she might look so old because her face is so serious.

I am now financially responsible for Nyamgu's health care, schooling, and regular meals. It's kind of a heady feeling. I mean, you use canvas bags when you go grocery shopping to help the environment, you donate to Red Cross and you even volunteer abroad for five months, and you wonder if you have made any sort of a difference. You wonder if the 1,000 plastic bags you save over your lifetime mean anything, if the money to Red Cross changed anything, you wonder if the students you taught remember any of the things you taught them...it just seems like nothing you do makes a difference. And if you do do your part, it seems like you can never get rid of all the injustice in the world, so why try?

I feel like, I am finally making a difference. This little girl just had a world of opportunities opened to her, just because I decided to stop buying a cup of coffee every day and spend the money on something else. (I know this is starting to sound a little bit too much like the commercial, "For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you could save a child..." but I can't help it! It's true!)

And then I think to myself, why am I sharing this with people? No one else is going to care about my little sponsorship. Well, the main reason is that this blog is mostly for me, as a journal. Also, as lame as this sounds, this little sponsorship has made me really happy. I don't even know this little girl, and I already feel a connection with her. If anyone else wants to feel happy for about the same price you'd spend on a meal for two at AppleBees, you should check out Children.org too.

No comments: