“I have my children with me and there are healthy,” she beamed.
And in that moment, in the run-down 2 room house on the side of a snow covered mountain, I envied her. I wanted what Aida had, all of her children healthy and with her.
We had asked, after spending some time in the tiny home, with its saggy plywood floor, sooty walls, and three narrow beds for 9 people, what she found joyful or beautiful about her life. It was natural to want to end on a high note for this mother, only 28 years old, who had generously opened her home and life to us. She had answered our questions about the ways her family barely subsists in this tiny Armenian village, where winter can last up to 9 months a year, and jobs are scarce.
With nowhere to go outside in the deep snow, and only one pair of boots for all 7 children, Aida’s family life takes place in these two rooms, each only a little larger than my bathroom at home.
The burden of rent is often too much, and the landlord threatens to kick them out, adding a larger dose of worry to Aida’s plate. The small wood stove used for cooking, washing, and heating water for bathing, is fueled by cow dung, but Aida’s family does not own a cow. Her husband muck stalls for someone else in order to earn a very low wage plus get cow dung for the family.
Even though World Vision is just beginning to establish a presence in their region, Aida’s family and the others in her village will eventually benefit from all that sponsorship offers: parental training, agricultural training, nutrition programs, child protection, Sunday school, and economic development opportunities for the parents. The good news is that while those programs will take a while to establish, Aida’s family has already been identified as extremely vulnerable and will be given help in the meantime.
In fact, we were able to deliver the news that because of a donation made through a World Vision Gift Catalog, their electricity bill had been paid and the electricity will be turned back on after a week of being off. They will also receive an emergency food kit.
Aida IS grateful to have all of her children healthy and with her. It is what every mother wants. But behind her warm smile as she holds her adorable second youngest, is likely another desire: to make a better future for her children. I'm guessing some days that seems impossible.
No, I am not jealous of Aida. That unwanted flicker passed in an instant as it does on many of my days, but now Aida holds a place in my heart as one mother-woman to another. And I've got to tell you, that after just a few minutes in those little rooms, it became harder and harder to see the lack, even though it most certainly was there. Somehow, the warm intensity of mother-love made the rest start to recede from view.
Child sponsorship is the backbone of World Vision’s programs. I get to meet my new sponsor child, Anahit, tomorrow! You can find out more about child sponsorship here.