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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teach Your Parents Well

My daughter has taught me so much about making good lemonade from the lemons life hands us. At twenty-eight, she would love to be a mother but, with her chronic Lyme disease, that's not possible right now. Instead, she reaches out her love and support to a little girl in Calcutta, India, through Children International.
Anna did her research and found this organisation (with the chance to form a personal relationship through letters and pictures) to be her choice for sponsorship at $22/month. She spent a lot of time looking through pictures of children from the eleven countries in the world (including the U.S.A.) where C.I. has field offices and I remember the night we both fell in love with wee Hena. That was nearly three years ago now.

Hena just turned eleven and shares a one-room house with her parents, two sisters and two brothers. She goes to school, enjoys her language lessons most, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She's starting to add more English words in her letters (they are translated underneath) and writes more than the required two times a year. Anna's face lights up when a letter comes and she, too, writes often and sends pictures.
Through the year we put aside our spare change and occasional small bills towards a birthday surprise for Hena and her family. Spare cash is not easy to find at our house but we did manage to save $150 from last October to this. Perhaps that only buys you an Ipod on a Tacoma scale...but we were so excited to receive these pictures that show just how much was able to be given to a struggling family and a little girl of hope and promise.

The List includes--
* a mixer/grinder
(to grind spices faster than by hand; helps the mother cook & saves time)
* a dinner set
(plates, bowls, cups, etc.. to be able to serve guests)
* a carrom board
(a board game for Hena and her siblings to play)
* a steel utensil rack
(to help organise the kitchen area)
* 2 steel storage containers
(to store rice and flour and other essentials)

* 20 kgs of rice
20 kgs of flour
(more food.. which will allow the family to save some money in the coming weeks as they don't need to buy these products from the market)
* 8 litres of mustard oil
(for the mother to cook with)
1 jar of "Horlicks"
(a health drink)
* 1 kg of biscuits

Anna also requested the salwar kameez outfit for Hena especially. She's wearing the embroidered white shirt and pants in the pictures, sometimes with a red sweater and sometimes with the red embroidered dupatta hanging over her shoulder. In the letter that accompanied these pictures, Hena told us how she takes Anna's picture with her everywhere and tells everyone that she has a sponsor who "loves her so much." In that moment of reading Hena's words, the gift she gave back into our home was priceless. In that moment, our hearts and home were decorated with the sparkling love of this season.
Anna has taught her mother well...and I can't help but think how good this teaching would be for people who seem to have both expectation and ennui for expensive things on wish-lists. It's such a large picture, to think about changing the world, but for $22 each month with Children International (the saving for birthdays optional) you can bring about huge change for a little one and their family. The precious gift is allowing a corner of the world in to touch your family.


Mizu Sugimura said...

Positively inspiring!

Kim Thompson said...

Yikes! I had a comment here that didn't stick when I posted it.


Anyway, what a terrific piece. What a terrific Anna.

JosephMcG said...

Wonderful piece... here's to Anna... I salute your concern and I think the friendship that is developing between you, Henna, and Henna's family is wonderful!

Stephanie Frieze said...

Thank you, Lorraine, for sharing Anna's good work and informing me about Child International! I know how well Anna researches things and will take that into consideration for future charitable gifts. I truly believe that the good we do comes back to bless us three fold.