on the needles

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Javiera: My 2nd Chilean Sponsor Child

When Steve goes to Chile he will also hopefully be meeting my other sponsor child Javiera. I haven't mentioned Javiera on the blog much because, frankly I don't know that much about her.

What I do know doesn't seem very positive.

This is Javiera's home. She does have a bed, running water, a portable gas stove for cooking and toilet facilities.

Javiera's family situation is hard to figure out. She shares her home with her mother Valeska (I'm not sure which one she is - I assume the one in white), her Aunt and Grandmother. Javiera is six years old and has a brother Osvaldo, who is one year younger than her. Again, I'm not sure which one he is - I assume the one in the striped sweater? The other two children are Javiera's cousins that also live in the home. Javiera's father has abandoned the family.

I was very dismayed when I got these pictures. Javiera shares the general problems of poverty that my other sponsor children have as well as the lack of any adult males in the picture (again a common denominator in many of my sponsor children's lives). But in many respects Javiera seems to be by far the worst off of all of my children. Her home seems more unkempt than any of the others and Javiera herself seems neglected.

In this picture it looks like Javiera has not had a bath in some time and her hair looks like it hasn't been brushed. Her clothes don't seem very clean and the other children seem to be in the same state.

I was very depressed by seeing these photos. I've had these photos for over six months and haven't shared them before now because I don't really know what to say about how I feel. I don't wish to judge anyone with how they cope with such a situation of poverty. I don't know how my sponsor children and their families cope at all! But in every other situation I at least think that I see love, hope and a close family that is doing their best to survive. With Javiera I just don't know what I see.

The field worker form CI who took the pictures and talked to the family shares my frustration and also seems a bit baffled as to what to do. The family showed no interest in starting an IGP. Javiera's mother Valeska is a street vendor (as are the Aunt and Grandmother). The family has $200 a month currently - although it was closer to $100 until just recently. Maybe one of them has a new job? I don't know... The field worker in fact went back to the home on a second occasion to try to talk the family into an IGP but still with no luck. Children International is certainly trying to do it's best for this family. But the situation remains very frustrating. I'm pretty much at a loss as to how to help other than with sponsorship and special needs gifts for Javiera's birthday. Anyone have any suggestions?

Javiera's most recent photo is slightly more encouraging. But then again they obviously knew that she would be having her picture taken that day... I've never seen Javiera smile. I sometimes wonder if I ever will. I should be getting a more recent photo any time now as this one is almost a year old.

This case is a hard nut to crack. The letters I get from the family are very short and pretty much the same every time. "Javiera is fine, thanks for your help." The only other info I have learned about her is that she is very active, and mischievous and fights with her cousins. :) Hopefully when she gets old enough and she can write her own letters I can help her more and give her some encouragement. Thankfully she is in school as of the last report...

As for now I can only speculate about Javiera and hope...

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Blogger Heather M said...

This reminds me of Katherine. I, too, tried to get her family set up with an IGP since both parents were unemployed. The offered was turned down, and the kids were sent to live with their grandmother while mom hooked up with a new man in a new town... I was heartbroken for the kids. The best you can do is be a support for Javiera. At least she will know she can turn to you if something is troubling her.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Carrie K said...

Ah, how heartbreaking. Hopefully not more realistic.

5:12 PM  

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