Finishing what I started this morning . . .
I got my new sponsored child today. Her name is Meaza Zergaw and she is from Meki town at the Southern Shewa region of Ethiopia. She was born October 5, 2001. Both parents are alive and live together. Her mother is a housewife and her father a day laborer. The family earns 400 a year. They come from the Guraghe ethnic group and they follow orthodox Christian religion. Meaza is in kindergarten and likes counting numbers and reading alphabets, doing errands and loves playing with toys (what 5 year old doesn’t.) That about covers the biography they sent me.
Now, for her picture. This is a beautiful little girl with delicate features and light toffee skin. Her eyes are deep brown, earnest, but her expression is horribly grim. This looks more like a mug shot than a picture of a healthy 5 year old. Considering how sad the picture appeared of the boy they sent me, I wonder if they purposely discourage smiles so potential sponsors feel more empathy for these children. Or maybe the long face is a cultural thing, or photography is frightening to young people who do not understand why they are asked to stand in the bright light. Then again, perhaps the photograph comes three minutes after a medical checkup and the participants were just given a shot or a douse of castor oil. For one reason or another, taking a picture for the sponsor appears to be a dreaded endeavor.
Whatever – my goal now will be to get a picture of Meaza smiling. I happen to consider myself gifted at making young girls smile, only without dance as a medium to work with, I understand I am up to a challenge.
I have her picture hanging on the wall by my computer next to my big, steel “It’s all good” sign. Her pitiful little face will remind me to be grateful for my life and all the good things in it. Only, when I look at it, I think I’ll imagine her smiling. I like to believe, need to believe, all my distant friends are happy.