I’ve had some questions about Alba…the little girl pictured in a previous post. I met Alba in a Compassion project in Honduras last year. It was hot and humid so our group had just gotten bottled water. As I finished my bottle and laid it on the ground I saw Alba running toward me. She came to stand next to me, looked up at me and flashed a beautiful smile then grabbed my plastic bottle and ran away.

I had never seen a kid get so excited over a plastic bottle. So I asked an interpreter if there was any special reason for wanting one. And there was. Plastic bottles are literally treasures in Alba’s part of the world. Her family can get money for recycling the bottle. Very little by our standards but in Alba’s family every lempira counts.

I thought of how many water bottles I go through in a week and how they’re recycled for the “greater good” and never to come to mind again. I just go buy more and continue the cycle. My first reaction was guilt and then I reminded myself of what I’ve come to learn through Compassion and through these kids.

There is hope if we choose to see it. Alba has lived in poverty her whole life but she has the hope of changing that cycle because of opportunities she’s given through the Compassion program. She has hope because someone chose to sponsor her and writes letters to her on a monthly basis to reinforce how special she is and remind her she is loved and not forgotten.

Albs walks to her Compassion project each week, sits down to a healthy meal and then moves to another room where she is able to learn about hygiene and then another room where she learns about God. It’s the full scope of hope…education, awareness and if she chooses…a relationship with God.

Alba and I got to spend more time together later that day, playing soccer and blowing bubbles. If you love her smile you should hear her silly giggle. When you meet Compassion kids you always have the expectation that you might be able to share a hug and a message of love. But kids like Alba always end up teaching me more that I expect. Her plastic bottle treasure and her happiness reminded me that I can suffer from a poverty of freedom and perspective in my own life. That I can miss the simple things and take my money for granted.

Every time I see a plastic bottle I am reminded of Alba and thankful that I have chosen to sponsor a child through Compassion International. You can never put a price tag on hope in the hearts and minds of children.

Click here to learn more about Compassion International and how to sponsor a child

With Alba in Honduras, May 2007

With Alba in Honduras