Ladies and Gentlemen,

meet Babulal.


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.


22 responses to “Bob

  1. I’m Laughing my Ass Off over here. What a great idea. Help a child AND make your own children realize how ungrateful they are! The plan is flawless!

  2. OMG, how perfect! And much better than me telling my kids, “Oh yeah? And people in hell want ice water,” when they ask for something they know they aren’t going to get.

  3. The reason doesn’t matter… the act does. Good for you!

  4. OK. Calling him BOB. roflmao!
    Also? I think I’m going to get one for my husband. I could really use the new twist on guilt.

  5. Oh, you really are an evil porcupine…

  6. Vinomom: Really, it’s like the program was DESIGNED for me!

    Sue: Ice water. Tee hee.

    Katie: Thanks. Despite my questionable behavior, I actually feel really good about sponsoring this kid. I’m already thinking we should add one more.

    mongoliangirl: I’m sure your husband will be pleased…

    Rassles: I shouldn’t take personality tests when I’m bone tired and depressed. But that was kind of a porcupiney thing to do, so maybe it was right. (BTW, your blog’s not letting me comment 😦 )

  7. You are an evil evil woman.

  8. you are my hero ginny. 🙂

  9. what part of india does bob live in? I sponsor kids in a vietnamese orphanage. if you ever get the opportunity you should go visit him in the village where he lives

  10. Max: I’ll save you a seat in hell. Bwa ha ha!

    Gina: Oh man, keep looking!

    Myra: A territory in the north west corner of the country. And I would absolutely love to see him.

  11. well, india is fairly cheap to visit. I think it should be one of your long term goals

  12. Good for you! I can’t wait until I’ve got the means to support a starving foreign child, and for the same reasons – those commercials make me feel guilty. They *should* make me feel guilty what with my $9 starbucks breakfasts. Really, how can I excuse myself? But when I’m all good and settled, I’ve promised myself that I would sign myself up.

    And as for guilting the kids? Fringe benefits man. And nothing wrong with driving home those finer points about appreciating what we’ve got with a real life example. Builds character! Now take them camping, and if you can find a route to school that is uphill both ways, I’m all for that too! I want my kids chopping wood.

  13. I am sooo pulling this one when I have kids.

  14. Duuuuude. THAT’S why my aunt sponsored a kid back in the day. I never knew.

  15. Well, birthday party went so well yesterday (16 bouncing 6-year-olds was a great idea) that the little nipper has extra toys. If he doesn’t pick them up soon, can I tell him I’ll just send them to Bob, then? Friends share you know… And I do feel a sense of familial attachment towards ALL three of your kids. Let me know, thanks.

  16. Myra: It is, now.

    Em: Chopping wood? Lot of that in downtown T.O., is there? Oh baby, you so funny.

    Bluestreak: Um, you’re welcome?

    Captain Steve: Oh, yeah. Your aunt was up to all KINDS of shit you didn’t know about.

    hendergurlie: That’s EXACTLY what you can tell him. (This morning Owen was asking J why we “adopted” Bob. Her answer? “He need to EAT!!” So I guess it might be having the intended effect after all.)

    Sixteen kids? What the crap?

  17. i just have to tell you that bob is a popular topic of conversation in my house now. i had to read this post to my husband because it just cracks me up and yesterday when my daughter said “i DON’T WANT bread with sauce on it!!” my husband leaned over and muttered “i bet babulal wouldn’t mind sauce on his bread” and i said “i bet babulal doesn’t even HAVE bread.”

  18. Sigh. What have I done? A small child in India can’t shake the feeling that he’s being used. 🙂 (Glad it translated into funny, 3rd hand).

  19. I like how you use your spear tipped tail to form a halo. 😉

  20. Peter: Well, I am quite bendy.

  21. Pfft, wood, tourists, whatever. But only the ones that don’t follow the walk-left-stand-right rule on the TTC escalators, natch 😉

  22. That’s not just TTC escalators: that’s universal, god damn it.

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