Monthly Archives: September 2010

Farewell to my Lazaro

I have written the following piece for World Vision about my little sponsor child Lazaro. World Vision have completed the project in his community and they are now leaving. This is such a sad time but such a truly great time for him.

.

.

My name is Emma Lovell and I have been a Sponsor parent for approximately 6 years. I had always wanted to sponsor a child and kept saying “when i’m older, when I have more money, when mum and dad will agree to it.” There will always be a reason that you can’t do something, until oneday I realised that my tips alone for 2 nights at my waitressing job could cover a childs living expenses for a month. My selfish side went out the window and my friends and I jumped on the World Vision website and started searching.

.

.

 My search for a child was very thoughtful, and I was concious of the popularity contest syndrome we have to choose the sweetest looking child or supposedly neediest. Instead I decided to go with a feeling. I knew I wanted to sponsor a young boy, so I could watch him grow, and I knew I wanted to support Africa. Tanzania was the choice and after flicking through a number of photos, I stopped on little Makesen Lerungo Lazaro, a beautiful 6 year old boy with the face of an angel. I know it was over the internet, through a computer screen and just a small photo, but I felt a real connection. This was my boy!

.

.

Lazaro and I have sent many letters to one another over the years and he has not gone without a Christmas card or Birthday card, as well as additional donation, since I started sponsorship. When I received his very first letter thanking me for my sponsorship, giving me Gods blessings and telling me about his family situation, I burst into tears. So much emotion for a child I had never met from a world I could never know. There were 7 people living in a 2 bedroom hut. His mother was just 40 and was a grandmother already. Here I sat, crying in my living room with a plasma TV, car and 4 bedroom house. How could I ever complain about going without or wanting more. Again, worlds apart.

.

.

 It was always my desire and dream to go and visit him and his family. I felt close to him through his letters and thought of him often. His photo has always held pride of place in my bedroom and I am forever talking about him and my experience as a sponsor. Finally in 2008, I had the opportunity, when buying a round the world ticket, to go to Tanzania and visit him. I had to seek approval from World Vision, lock in dates, have a police check and plan all travel arrangements once in country in advance, but it was so worth it.

.

.

The trip nearly ended in disaster as I had so much difficulty getting in contact with the office and had not had confirmation from the team – Luckily, at the 11th hour ,the Australian, Tanzanian and World Vision HQ offices in America helped me and all went well.

.

.

I get so emotional talking about the trip and smile every time I think back to being there. It was the single most amazing experience of my life and I cherish every second I had with my boy. I cannot describe the power of the emotion and intensity of the interaction I had with his parents when they looked me in the eye, and across all language barriers, thanked me for what I was doing for him. This program is saving and changing lives – I will treasure this thought forever.

.

.

When I went to the village, I was told that the program was running well and may finish withing the next 2 years. I decided that I would get back there within, if not exactly to the date, 2 years, so that I could see him again before they moved on. I was informed that once World Vision leaves the area, it is practically impossible for me to go there again. And sadly, for me, that day came just a few weeks ago.

.

.

The letter which explained to me that the settlement was successful and sustainable came as a shock and I was overwhelmed by the information. It’s such a wonderful thing that this village has come so far that they can now manage on their own, but as a sponsor parent, I also thought of the relationship and bond I had developed. Going to the village and seeing the work they do and holding my boy in my arms really intensifies this feeling of sadness and loss. After all, I had known this young boy for half of his life, 6 years, we had grown together. But ultimately, my feelings were selfish. For me to continue sponsoring him means that he is not living at the quality of life which he should and that is not fair. I have to take with me the thoughts that he is now in good care of his family and community and that no matter what, we will always have the memories of our time together and the relationship we had.

.

.

 I still get teary thinking of him. I sent my final farewell card and cried with every word. Goodbye is always the hardest word to say. Lazaro, you are in my thoughts always, as you have been for so many of the past years. I teasure the gift you gave me when I came to visit you and it will continue to have pride of place in my room and my heart. You were an inspiration to me and you put my world in perspective. This world is so much bigger than we can ever imagine, it is so much greater than all of us and you are helping me to understand this.

.

.

I started sponsoring a Nepalese girl one year ago as I also have a close affinity to this country. I look forward to developing a relationship with her and her community and someday soon visiting her in Nepal.

.

.

Thank you World Vision. The magnitude of the work you do can not be put into words. God Bless.


%d bloggers like this: