Ladies and Gentlemen,
He is 6 years old, and he lives in India. His one room home has no running water. His washroom is a nearby field, used by the entire community. Should he become seriously ill, the nearest health facility is over two hours away. He goes to school, for now, but if his family needs him to work, he will have to do so.
As of 4:30 yesterday, we’re sponsoring him.
Generally, I tell canvassers for charities to take a hike. I don’t trust them, I don’t particularily care about the charity they’re pimping for, I don’t have cash in the house. And I’ve always turned the station when the ads with the starving kids come on. Their fly-covered bodies made me feel sad and helpless and guilty. But yesterday, it was different.
All I could think of were reasons why I had to do this. For just over $30 a month, I could actually help a kid. Being a mom is hard enough; I can’t imagine trying to do it without electricity and running water and enough food. The particular charity I went with has an excellent track record at actually putting money into the areas that need it.
But mostly, my reasons were selfish. I could watch those commercials and not feel quite as guilty. My husband’s late grandmother loved sponsoring a child, and she’d be so pleased if her great-grandchildren were carrying on that tradition. And maybe my greedy little kids would learn some compassion.
I sat down with the kids, showed them Babulal’s picture and profile. The two year old can’t wrap her tongue around his name, so she calls him Bob. They were mildly freaked out by some of the differences between his life and theirs. They agreed that giving him money was a good thing. Then they went back to playing.
Within two hours, my motives for sponsoring this kid went from “selfish” to “highly suspect”.
“I don’t want chicken for supper!”
“Oh yeah? Well, I’m pretty sure little Babulal would trade his teaspoon of lentils for your chicken any day!”
“Mom, I can’t remember to flush every time.”
“Well, Babulal would be so happy to have a toilet in his house, he’d flush for the whole family.”
“I don’t wanna pick up those toys.”
“That’s fine. We’ll just send them to Babulal, because he doesn’t have any toys.”
Guilt is so much more effective when you have a sad-eyed face to put on it.