To be a mother without the means to help your child is gut wrenching. While we were in the process of adopting our sons, the report came that our youngest broke his femur. Merciful, how I remember the misery of wondering if he was being abused at the orphanage, if he was getting proper care for his injury. All I could do was pray and pay the medical bills sent to America.
The mother I met this afternoon can’t pay the bills.
In the Congo children are allowed to go to school whether their family can afford it or not. But the child builds a debt. Talk about student debt, try starting it in the 3rd grade! What happens here is the child doesn’t receive the grades until the debt is paid. Why not drop out in 6th grade when you discover you’ll never receive your diploma even though you rank top in your class?
This mother’s child works hard, likes to learn, but he doesn’t receive recognition for this work–not until his year and half debt if removed. All $185 of it which might as well be a million dollars to this family scraping by with fewer than 3 meals a day.
How can I tell a sponsor, “Hey, we’ve chosen a child for you who is motivated even when hungry and works hard. But the money you gave won’t cover his tuition because he owes more?
Instead, through translation, I attest that the debt will be paid in full in January. The woman’s words are low, jumbled with emotion, in a foreign language, and completely understood by me. Mother to mother. Heart touched to heart. This is God working through the body of Christ.
Kristin King is an author, publisher and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa. She is spending what she calls “The 12 Days of Christmas in Congo” visiting the educational mission.