Monday, June 4, 2007

In My Own Words: Pam Bourgeois

As my son Gabe and I touched down on the Valparaíso tarmack, we had no idea how much our lives were about to change. We sponsor three children, Jason, Constanza and Sebastian who live here, and we were going to meet them. We were excited about finally making a real connection with our newly extended family in Chile.

We first met with Jason, who is 13 years old, and not much younger than Gabe. I am told it was a normal sponsorship visit where we traveled to his house that is little more than a shack. Like other sponsored children, Jason was very quiet but gave us a tour of his playhouse in the backyard.

His mother was overly grateful to us for helping her son. Life has been especially hard since Jason’s father abandoned the family. That’s because Jason sees a psychologist for anger and attention problems, and must take medicine to help him focus at school.

Then it was on to meet Constanza and Sebastian who are brother and sister. We brought loads of presents for the family, but it was time that we spent together – two families, so different, but so similar – that has cemented our commitment to them. We spent an afternoon at a local amusement park where the children could just be kids, even if for only a few hours.

While we were there, I had a lot of time to speak with their mother, Karla – mom to mom. She is so young, yet watches her children wake up every day to face a life of poverty. She is so strong, and she is determined to help her children have a better life.

Gabe and I will be there to help both families as much as we are able. We live comfortably and fortunately can afford to buy items we often take for granted here in the States. Jason now has a bed with linens, blankets and the medications he needs. Constanza and Sebastian have a new chest of drawers and new toys.

But it is the fact that we can make a connection and a lasting difference in these families lives that is the lesson we take away from our trip abroad.

No comments: