Since writing this post, time has past and I felt I should update those of you who aren't in my daily circle. To be fair to myself, I wrote that post intending on going. Indeed, it was written to sway the reader to agree with me. And I think it would have been a great experience. Possibly life changing. I love the friend that offered me this chance and would have loved to spend the time with her knowing that it was possibly the only time I might do so. But I didn't go. A few things happened that made me change my initial inclinations.
First, we were put in contact with someone through Compassion who could answer many more questions than we previously had answered. Someone who knew a little bit more about the way the system worked and had done essentially the same thing we were trying to do with his own sponsor child. Tsegaye would have to sit down with a person from the church and discuss the best ways in which to use the monies we sent, though the decision to continue his schooling would still have to be his. This seemed right and hard at the same time. I wanted to MAKE him continue, but knew it would mean more if it was his choosing.
We also received his last letter(through Compassion) that removed any doubt as to what his goals were. He desperately wanted to finish school and did everything but outright ask us to help him. This made us feel certain that the money we sent would be used for the purpose we intended. Thus removing the absolute need for me to go there to set it up.
I would be dishonest if I said the money was not an obstacle as well. It would cost 4Xs as much for me to go vs. just sending the money. The whole goal was to get his education funded, not to meet him, however wonderful that would have been, and I could not overlook the burden of the price tag of such a trip. Yes, I had a tentative plan to fund it, but looking back on how busy we were without the added fundraising, I'm not sure how I would have fit it in and maintained my sanity or my family.
On the positive side, we have gotten several e-mails from Tsegaye. He must have someone who can translate for him b/c they come in English, however broken. He has continued his schooling and assures us his family supports him in this as well. He still always asks us to come. Perhaps our next sponsor child should be in a location that is easier to visit.
I do feel a bit like I settled for mediocrity when I had something so much more within my grasp. And that is disappointing. I am not a great traveler without my kids. I used to love it, before I had wee ones I had to say goodbye to. And part of me feels like I let this feeling override the opportunity. I'm not interested in beating myself up about it. I think that as my kids get older, it will be easier to leave them or I will be able to take them with me more. I know I missed out on something really special. I can only pray that the next time I get such an opportunity, I will not have any qualms about taking it.