In honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, we've asked bloggers this past week to share their thoughts on motherhood -- and the importance of caring for children who have experienced the loss of a parent. Today’s post, the third in this four-part series, comes from Amanda White.
Miss any of the previous posts in the series? Read them here!
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I have a 10-pound bag of rice in my pantry. It's not in there because rice is our favorite food. In fact, we haven't eaten rice in months because of the diet we choose to follow. I can't make myself throw it away. But I don't eat it. And I don't really want it. I know I'll use the rice one day. But for now it's just taking up space. Usually, this doesn't bother me much.
Then, I read a story about Phoe. He's a 14-year-old boy who lives in Yangon City, Myanmar. When he was just 5 years old, his mother died and his three older siblings were shipped off to their grandparents while he and his little sister stayed with their alcoholic father. Now, he lives with his unable-to-work father and 10-year-old sister under a bridge. Well, they live there in the daytime -- until the police come around at night shooing them away. To provide for his small, shattered family, Phoe collects handmade bamboo baskets from garbage dumps and resells them. If he has a good day, he can collect the equivalent of 70 cents and buy four cups of rice for himself, his father, and his sister to share. I have a 10-pound bag of rice in my pantry. How did the world get like this? Why can I have an entire closet devoted to food while Phoe struggles to get a bowl of rice once a day? How are children orphaned and forgotten? How did excess become the norm for me? Up until a few months ago, Phoe's norm was poverty and lack. Then, some of his friends told him about a special place. Phoe says,
“I didn’t exactly know what it is. But my friends told me we can play, learn reading and writing there, and that place provided meals, too. They introduced me to staff from that centre, and I went with them. There were a number of children. At first, I wasn’t very happy to go there. But, after a few days, I was happy and excited to go to the centre as I made many friends there. I took my sister to the centre, too. The staff at the centre are really kind and patient. They teach us reading, writing, basic calculation, and life skills. We read poems and sing songs, too. We can watch TV there. We can have a shower there and the centre provides clothes for us, too. Moreover, we can have two meals a day with delicious curry."
This center Phoe frequents is a drop-in center staffed by World Vision. I've seen places like this at Haitian refugee camps in the Dominican Republic. The centers I saw were simple tents with friendly staff who were there to talk, play games, and give hugs. It was a literal oasis in a place of sadness, fear, and upheaval. It doesn't take much to change a child's life for good. It doesn't take much to bring a child from poverty to full tummies and education. For the price of a couple 10-pound bags of rice, for the price of the mani/pedi you'd give your mom for Mother's Day, you can support orphaned children through World Vision's sponsorship program. Phoe didn't get a new house, new family, or a college degree from World Vision. He was simply taken in and loved. For the first time, he experienced kind and patient adults, schooling, singing, TV, showers, clothes, and two meals a day! What a difference from Phoe's life before, a life where every bit of his family's well-being was on his young shoulders. With money and support from sponsors, World Vision can do even more than two meals a day. This center in Sangon City has temporary housing for street kids -- housing where Phoe now lives:
“I don’t want to stay on the streets anymore and I’m too tired to hide at night when the watchman patrols in the market while we are sleeping. That’s why I decided to stay at the shelter. My sister is staying with her foster parents, and World Vision staff accompanies me to visit her every month. My plan is I will learn a vocational skill and then I will try my best to earn my living with the skill. I’m happy here. I feel that this is where I belong.”
If you're a mother, would you wrap your figurative arms around a boy like Phoe? If you've ever known the love of a mother -- someone who showed you kindness and patience, made you at least two meals a day, let you watch TV, and made you take a shower -- would you consider helping another child across the world know this love, too? When you sponsor a child, your monthly gift of $35 is a gift of mothering. It's a gift of life. It's a gift of love.
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Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel. In her former life, Amanda was a children’s pastor -- overseeing, organizing, and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school. But now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
Read the other posts in our Mother’s Day series: An orphan’s story Offering Hope Consider sponsoring a child: Your support will help bring life-giving necessities such as nutritious food, clean water, education, and healthcare. You will also have the opportunity to develop a personal, lasting relationship with your sponsored child through cards and letters.