I got a dreaded phone call from Compassion earlier this week about him and was told that he is no longer attending the project. Sadly, he has not been meeting the attendance requirements this year, and over the last two months, didn't attend a single project day or activity. His project attempted to encourage him to come to the project, but Sagar refused. Instead, he has been traveling to the city to sell items, in order to raise money for his family.
I am heartbroken for several reasons:
1. I am so sad to lose Sagar. I love him. I love his project and his community and I love that boy, so much. I have been sponsoring him for 4 years now. It hardly seems possible that it's been that long, but it has. I have watched him grow from boy to a teenager. I will miss communicating with him.
2. I am sad because Sagar did not see the benefit of attending the project...or he did...and a job was more important for him and his family.
3. It breaks my heart (and really opens my eyes) that, in this world, there are places where 13 year olds not only can drop out of school to work full time, but that they HAVE to drop out of school and work. In places like the community where Sagar lives, not working could mean starvation or homelessness for Sagar's family.
4. Sagar's community is a dangerous place, full of gangs, drugs, and sex work. His community is run by a group of pimps. There are so many things Sagar could fall into, very easily. I can only pray that he has a good job and has learned enough at his project to avoid all of these temptations.
On Tuesday, the day I received the phone call, when I returned home from work I cried like I had lost a family member. I truly felt like I had. I know that sponsored and correspondent children come and go and it is always hard to lose them. I think of the kids that I have lost all of the time. But, and I almost hate to admit it, I really feel like Sagar and I had a special bond. I love him so much.
And, while I'm being honest, part of me wants to blame myself. If I had sent more financial gifts...could his family have paid the rent, or bought more food, or paid for school fees. If I had done more, would Sagar still be in the project? I know that I can't blame myself, but I can't help thinking of things I could have, should have given up to help Sagar out more.
To be honest, again, sometimes things just suck. The world can be a pretty terrible place. Sure, there are many good things and people and lights in the darkness, but in this situation, a 13 year old boy having to quit being a child in order to be the man of the family (he lives with his mother and sister) just sucks.
I can wish and hope that things had turned out differently, but that is not how things work. All I can do now is pray that he stays safe and finds a good place for himself in the world. Maybe someday, even, God will bring us together again.
So, goodbye, for now, Sagar. I hope you know just how loved you are.