Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 17: Choosing to believe


I began learning Hindi yesterday. I’ve learned a few new alphabets in my time, but it’s hard to make the leap from memorizing unfamiliar lines to intuitively synthesizing them into words. Letter by letter (or syllable by syllable), anyone can do it. To make the sounds second nature is not quite so easy.

Why am I learning Hindi, you might ask? The simple answer: I couldn’t find resources to study Santhali or Mundari, tribal languages in Partharhuri. From what I can understand, the Munda tribe is Hindu and therefore would have at least rudimentary knowledge of Hindi. I learned a bit of Bengali a few years ago (and have forgotten all but the most basic words) when I took care of a child whose parents spoke Bengali as their native language, but I never learned the written form. I only learned words to use with her. So far, I’ve only found one word that is the same. “Ah-cha” means “good” in both languages. Imitating the child’s mother, I’d say Ahcha when the little girl sat down to eat or attempted something new. Or for no reason at all but to express my pleasure in her company.

But why are you really learning Hindi, you might ask a second time. The answer is not quite so easy.

Last week, I received some devastating news. The effects will ripple for months, and there’s not much I can do about it. I spent much of the day in tears and unable to focus on anything. I dried my eyes and sketched out plans to conquer the next few months as best as I could, cutting down on extraneous details.

The next day, I received worse news. The one-two punch knocked me out for the count, and my world has been uncertain since then. I have survived difficult times, I have come out victorious despite the odds, and I have found strength I didn’t know I had. I’ve done all this…but I’m weary. It’s been the most difficult year I’ve had in a long time, and I had just celebrated pulling through.

I hate to admit it, but at one point last week life did not seem worth it. What is the point of struggling so hard to survive when life kicks me in the teeth the second I think I’m safe? Why do I spend so much time and energy for others when it can often lead to mistreatment, people taking advantage of me, and inappropriate attitudes?

I haven’t even decorated my tree yet this year.


Yes, Ana who starts singing Christmas carols after Labor Day has not pulled out her boxes of ornaments, garlands, and icicles. First I was consumed by Something Good preparations…nonstop daily rush for six solid weeks. It was a great project with great results, but I needed time and space to recover. The project took a lot out of me and still has. (I hate politics, and they inevitably get wrapped into any philanthropic endeavor.) I planned to decorate my tree after returning home. I hadn’t been home for 48 hours before I got the news.

I worked on Something Good, even though I’d intended to focus on solving the new issues, because it was something I could do and the results were tangible. I felt a little better at making the final arrangements for the shipment to Trinity Place Shelter. I’ll mail the Kindles as soon as I receive the protective cases.

I tried to write, but the only words I could get down were the Something Good posts. (You may see a theme here…) I tried to work, I tried to resume my daily life, and I tried to move on. I took the temporary measure of binge-watching The Good Wife reruns. (Whatever Julianna Margulies might have against Archie Panjabi, I wish she’d get over it already so Alicia and Kalinda can resume the most fulfilling, nuanced, and loving female friendship of the show. The Alicia-Kalinda relationship was the heart of the show, and everything suffers now that they haven’t shared screen time for 30 episodes.)

Then, last weekend I heard about an exhibit depicting the experience of children in poverty. A friend from church praised it as remarkable and moving. She isn’t the type to rave, usually, so I was intrigued. I investigated, and I thought…what the heck, why not? It was free, even if a bit far away.

Ana’s not so good with geography and directions, so a 25-minute trip turned into a 1-hour wild goose chase. Because it took longer, that meant hitting rush hour traffic. I arrived at the exhibit (set up in an enormous trailer enlarged with awning) and received a headset and ipod tuned to the show.

“Do you want to see the story about a little girl or a little boy?” asked the volunteer, and of course I said the little girl, Julian. After a wait, I was told to enter. I regarded with skepticism the recreation of a humble bed, chair propping a door closed, and some trash on the floor. Okay, everyone has seen poverty. The little girl’s narration on my headset, paired with a sound effects track, was supposed to seem realistic but instead felt odd.


I heard the same sad story white Western women love to cry over, that girls of color are devalued as marital property and need to be saved by gracious white Western women with money. (Ana has issues with the savior mentality, if you can’t tell.) I rolled my eyes and went into the next room. The sad story continued, until I heard that Julian was sponsored by a couple and she could now enroll in school.



I stepped into a recreated room of the child education center. A birthday card lay on the desk, the actual card the real Julian received as a child.


“It was the first time anyone thought I was important enough to celebrate my birthday,” said Julian, and I looked through the letters and photos sent by her sponsors. The cheerful classroom, the blackboard, and the bright lighting made me smile.

Next, thunder and lightning paired with sounds of a drunken brawl as I should have stepped into a dark, dank alley littered with broken beer bottles and trash.

Ana is a scaredy cat. I can’t watch most movies or television because they give me nightmares. (Curses on my vivid writer’s imagination.) I sleep with the lights on. I won’t even watch some Disney movies because they’re too scary. (Don’t laugh. The Princess and the Frog is scary!)

I could not step into the room. Instead, I stayed in the bright-lit classroom and held the curtain aside so I could peer into the darkness. The visceral aversion to that dark room took me by surprise. I have reservations about the marketing of child poverty as a fundraising stunt. I have reservations about fundraising organizations that spend a great deal of money assuaging white Western guilt and playing on egos rather than making sustained, large-scale change. I have reservations about blind good intentions that often result in far more harm than neglect and indifference. When outsiders try to step in and rescue, they usually screw it up.

I went into the next room and heard that Julian had graduated from college and moved to the US to attend graduate school for social work. Her video came onto the ipod screen, and she spoke about her hope for the future. She was well-spoken, personable, and engaging. I stared around the tiny room, touching the items that had belonged to her.

And then walked smack-dab into the lobby afterward, where dozens of child packages (photos on information cards, wrapped in plastic envelopes) waited on display shelves.

I had no intention of sponsoring a child. Child sponsorship programs are fraught with issues, particularly raising issues of jealousy, inequality, and vulnerability for children who receive sponsorship versus those who do not. When one child in a family receives a sponsor and the siblings do not, or when one sponsored child receives lavish gifts from sponsors and others do not…let’s just say that I have been on the other end (managing volunteers, donors, and sponsors) and understand very well how donor “good” intentions waste everyone’s time at best and inflict serious harm at worst. The number one worst thing to do is make promises that can’t be kept.

When I spearheaded efforts at an orphanage, I wanted to drop-kick “volunteers” who received paid time off work to come in, play with their cell phones, gossip with each other, interrupt the real work, get in everyone’s way, and say devastating things to the children like, “You’re so cute. You love Mommy/Daddy, don’t you? Call me Mommy/Daddy!” They’d feed the children junk food and candy, not considering that they were ruining the children’s appetites for real food and endangering their teeth for cavities. (Do you think an orphanage can afford to pay for twice-yearly dental cleanings for one hundred children?) Then the “volunteers” left while congratulating themselves on doing their good deed for poor orphaned children.

I’ve managed fundraising efforts in the past, trying to negotiate the divide between donors’ needs to give something tangible and organizations’ typical demands for cash. I had that same experience with Something Good, in that our contributions were devalued as they were not cash given directly to the center.

Despite all of my misgivings, I looked at the child packets. It made me uncomfortable. Children for sale, essentially. And yet…some of the packets said “Priority” because the child had been waiting for a sponsor. Sometimes as long as six or nine months.

Ana doesn’t have a lot of money, especially not after the news of last week. It would be irresponsible to make a commitment I couldn’t keep.

And yet…I looked for the older children, ones that would mean a shorter commitment. (Sponsorship typically lasts through the 18th birthday and may include an additional 1-2 years for higher education.) I chose the oldest girl I could find, asked a lot of questions, and took her packet with me as I went through the little boy’s exhibit. This time, I could recognize the formula for the story, except with some gender and cultural differences.

I don’t know any of the languages of Indonesia, I thought to myself. The girl in the packet was from Indonesia. I wish I did. I know a teeny-tiny bit of Bengali. Maybe a child in India…

There was a boy in India, one year older (and one less year of a commitment, so one year less chance I couldn’t fulfill it). Maybe he speaks Bengali, I thought. I don’t know any Hindi, but maybe there are some similarities.

I understand all the problematic issues of individual child sponsorship, and I understand the colonialist impulse of “saving” a child. And yet…

While the organization has its critics, it is consistently rated for transparency in finances and empirical evidence showing its methods work (keeping children in school, securing employment, and preventing medical issues or even death).

And, when it comes right down to it, it’s a choice.

Collecting Kindles and ebooks will not end homelessness or homophobia. It will not get Heidi out of her wheelchair, and it will not transform mistreated youth into loved and secure adults.

Sending money each month will not eradicate poverty or class-based injustices. There are issues with the program, as there are issues with every program.

Cynicism is easy. Anyone can choose flippancy and casual dismissal of earnest, sincere beliefs. Mocking belief or tearing it down as ignorant or wishful thinking has become fashionable lately, especially for those who mock religion as imaginary friends of the weak-minded.

It’s easy to tear down beliefs.

It’s a lot harder to build up a belief and to hold onto it despite difficulties. When I see my favorite quilting grannies at church, they have built marriages that have lasted 40, 50, 60, and even 70 years. The kind of dedication, love, and self-sacrifice that takes….it blows me away.

My generation is the skeptical generation, the one that has chosen not to submit to authority or to believe in an overarching, hierarchical structure. We want to be independent thinkers. We cheer for the rogue, the rebel, and the one who refuses to submit.

But when bad news strikes home, we need something to believe in.

When everything I’ve held dear has been threatened and my life as I have known it may no longer exist, I need to believe in a higher power and a greater good.

I may be a sucker. I may be someone easily manipulated into sending money I can’t afford in exchange for a child’s photo and the belief I am making change.

It may not be true, any of it. Or all of it. Or it might be.

I only know that two days ago, when I walked out of the exhibit holding the child sponsorship packet, I cried as I got into my car.

For the first time since bad news hit, I could believe.

That’s what my dear quilting granny friend did for me. She believed in me, so simply and transparently that she made me believe, too. With her unexpected death a few months ago, my world changed. The hardest part about being an adult is no longer having someone I can believe in implicitly. Adult relationships are always fraught, no matter how strong. With my friend, I believed in her with abandon, because she believed in me first. She made me feel secure, loved, and that I could trust the world to be good. Ever since she died, I’ve been trying to find that same reassurance and failing. Last week was the final nail in that coffin. It truly did not seem as if things were worth it anymore.

I may not make any change, and I don’t tell this story to receive plaudits or elicit praise. Please, do not tell me I’ve done a good thing. It’s a selfish thing, needing to feel hope. Selfish, but acceptable if I understand my motivations.


I will learn Hindi so I can write a few words of greetings to my child, even if that’s not his native language. I will ask him to teach me some Santhali or Mundari, but for now (until I get his first letter, which may take up to 3-4 months), I will practice Hindi.


Acha. It is good.


41 thoughts on “Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 17: Choosing to believe

  1. Sarah Bennett says:

    Oh Ana

    My heart is so filled with joy for you!! Thank you for sharing your love and vulnerability. I’m so glad you have found your happy place in spite of your rough season.

    This child you’re sponsoring sounds lovely. The poverty exhibit sounds sad but also very true for many.

    So proud of you and sending prayers as you face the many challenges.

    Hugs to all


  2. awesomesub says:

    Ana, I am so sorry that you had such devastating news. And actually I prefer to disagree with you on you being selfish. Instead this sounds as if you are too hard on yourself and this is what makes me just as sad as the sadness and weariness you are feeling at the moment. Maybe there is not much that I could do to help you through this hard time, but this sounds so familiar that I think I have been in exactly the place you seem to be in. The way you wrote this makes me feel so helpless and the only line I do want to remember from my own moments was ‘Don’t give up!’ . Maybe this doesn’t make much sense at all, but right now I am worried about you and just wish for something good to happen to you.

    There is something good that you created 🙂 (sorry for the lame word play) and maybe this could help give you some kind of new hope. If not this, maybe supporting this one kid will do so. In fact, from what you wrote I do believe it already does, well obviously, because you learn Hindi. That’s awesome.

    lots of love and hugs



  3. pao says:

    *hug* I don’t know what to say, I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time. I won’t say that you’re doing a good thing… but what you do influences the people around you. And you choosing to be hopeful and not cynical will have great ripple effects even if it doesn’t repaint the entire big picture. I hope things get better for you.

    Also, you do know a few Indonesian words 🙂 There are three on your blog somewhere!


  4. Leigh Smith says:

    Sponsoring or mentoring a child in need is its own reward. I’ve been lucky enough to have that opportunity many times through the years and there’s no feeling like seeing them succeed in life.

    Sorry you;re going through such a difficult time, but God doesn’t hand out anything you can’t handle. Try and keep that in mind as your wading through the mud.


  5. Holla Dean says:

    So sorry for the rough time you’re having, Ana. Things will get better, they always do. It’s the cycle of everything, not just life. Up and down. My father always says just as you feel you can’t hang on any longer, something happens and you get another deep breath of air and then hang on some more until again you feel like you’re drowning until the next breath of air. It’s wonderful that you find things to keep you going, even in the face of adversity. Acha, it is good.


  6. chickie says:

    Ana, I’m not going to tell you you’ve done a wonderful thing by sponsoring that child, even though you have 😉 I’m going to tell you that you are a wonderful person who is doing so much good for so many people. People you don’t know, people you do know, and people you know only by their online alias. You’ve made a difference to me, I know others as well. I’ve shared before that the holidays are not exactly wonderful for me, often finding myself dragging out of bed to put on a happy face for the kiddos to make sure their memories are perfect… yet scowling on the inside because I didn’t get to ____. Cheesy as it sounds I really look forward to what you’ve posted. I wish everyone didn’t have to be so protective of who they are and I wish I could hop on a plane to whoville and give you a big hug. I appreciate what you do.

    As I write this I struggle with my own advice. My work makes a huge impact on so many people and I know it does. I feel taken for granted all day, every day, at work and with my family. I try to do good with church things, but my values are wrong so it’s been suggested that perhaps I should spend more time listening and less time participating.

    The things I do feel good, but somehow my impact seems meaningless when I get swept up in what’s wrong. A friend died in an accident recently. I have very little family that’s not toxic, and now I’m losing them like dominoes. One a few months ago and two in the last week. My step mom and dad are toxic people and we have a few short supervised visits a year so they can see my kids. That was supposed to be this weekend, but I wanted to go to the two funerals in another state. They truly believe that the deaths were somehow scheduled, or at least the funerals were, to conflict with their visitation, as if anyone knows or cares about their schedule. I was blamed for ruining their christmas, as I somehow manage to do every year. In the end, I bawled myself to sleep last night. It was for the loss of people I love, for the family I wish I had, and for perpetuating the cycle of dysfunction to my kids.

    So on that note, Ana, I’m trying to carry on and put on a happy face and I truly hope that you do too. Even if your motives are a bit selfish – and geesh, that’s hardly selfish! I vented and then got a hug from a coworker this morning, and she whispered in my ear something like “Don’t stop doing your best just because nobody is giving you credit.”


  7. Mary M. says:

    I respectfully disagree with you, Ana. Your gifts bless the giver as well as the recipients, but that is not being selfish. I wish you great luck in learning Hindi, and hope that things improve for you. During this festival of lights, your actions embody the old proverb that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.


  8. ruthshulman says:

    So many times I read these posts and get teary-eyed. Sad tears, happy tears, tears of worry or frustration for some event, some person who has meaning in my life, however peripherally. I am streaming tears just now. You are such an example of human kindness, simple and complex, Ana.

    Cynicism is a great destroyer of progress. “What good will that do?” is the question that can stop love and hope in their tracks. When even one good soul tunes out the voice of the Cynic and marches alongside love and hope, that’s progress. That one soul turns into many souls. We all walk together. Perhaps, with this post, you will leave a footprint on the heart of one more body to join the march. One more soul to spread the word to the next.

    You’re a beacon of love and light, Ana!


  9. SH says:

    I’m sorry life is so difficult for you right now, Ana. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and that God does not give you more than you can handle. I know it’s easy to say and difficult to realize when you are in the middle of something that is testing you but I had a huge test 19 years ago and it was the only thing that kept me going.

    You are a strong woman, as we can all attest, keep your chin up 🙂 Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. (((((hugs)))))


  10. ameliahfaith says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. I just want you to remember three little things.
    Dil kee gaharaeon se Mujhe tumhari fikar hai (from the bottom of my heart I care about you),
    You are only as alone as you want to be and you are very, very loved.


  11. JC says:

    Learning a foreign language is always a challenge. I am currently trying a little Chinese. I am looking at an opportunity to possibly go to China and teach. Learning foreign languages are difficulty but worth it n the end.

    I am sorry that you have recieved bad news at a time when the season is suppose to be joyful. I am praying for you.


  12. Kyra says:

    I’m sorry for not commenting yesterday but I was knocked out with the effects of the flu.
    Ana thanks so much for sharing this with us. I am trying to learn Japanese but it’s taking some time. As of now I speak English., French and a little Italian ( which I am also trying to become fluent in).I wish you all the best.😊😊


  13. Shannon Love says:

    It sounds like you really took a one-two punch to the face. Grief is hard any time of year but this time of year, darkness spreads like a virus. When I feel that dark cloud, I end up avoiding the very thing that could make me smile (even just a little).

    So I figuratively stand over you tapping a wooden spoon *mock-threateningly* and urge you to put an ornament on that tree. And don’t feel guilty about the spark of happiness that it will bring you. Allow yourself to feel joy as you sort out your grief. You’re allowed to feel both at once. I’m on the outside looking in but I think your quilting granny friend would agree with me.

    The great thing about have a heart as big as yours is that you spread love far and wide. You dig deeper than the average giver and find what truly touches people. You didn’t tell Jared that the Kindle, case, earphones and a crap-ton of free writing should be enough for him. You found out what Shakespeare work he would like. Then you found a crap-ton of that for him. You didn’t just mindlessly choose some random person in India and start your monthly payments. You opened your heart to a young man and are now trying to learn some of his language so you can communicate with him. I’m sure he’ll be honored at your effort.
    The problem with having a heart as big as yours is that it gets broken. That horrible sadness can become overwhelming.

    You felt like giving up but you didn’t. That speaks volumes about your strength and resilience in the face of heavy news.

    Please start decorating and feel some happiness. You can categorize the shocking news and revisit it later with a clear mind.


  14. abby says:

    A big double hug for you today….I am sorry to year that life is being life and throwing you yet another curve ball. You will find your way through it….and you have already started.
    You have not rolled into a ball and given up….you are stronger that you think…it is time for you to be good to yourself…put up a few decorations….let yourself breathe and feel a sense of all that you have accomplished…


  15. lara estes says:

    Ana, it is difficult to understand why God gives us such difficult trials. There is a prepuse for all things that we suffer but there are Also great blessing given to us. This is the promise he has made to us. There are things that I could say but they would probably sound self serving. I will leave you with these to thoughts. Chirst knows the pain that you are feeling and that we will all gain eternal life and that we will all be joined together again. Hugs.


  16. AFOdom says:

    I have felt these same things, questioned my own motivations for giving, found myself unhealthily cynical about it to the point of doing nothing, and found myself touched feeling like even one word to one person made a difference that had a ripple effect. I have been on the receiving end of awful news that I thought I wouldn’t make it through. And I have been lucky enough to have people around me I could believe in, who also believed in me. One of them is my husband, and I live with a low level of fear of the day he will no longer be with me. Because, as it sounds like you experienced with your quilting granny, who will I have to believe in then? I know there are others out there, but that core relationship is a heartbreaking one to lose.

    Huge hugs. Huge huge ones. And another one. Maybe I won’t let go for a little while.


  17. laurellasky says:

    Mani schma,
    Schcoki harbra evirt, had samah. Learning a new language. What I wrote was hi, how are you, I have forgotten most of my Hebrew. Of course I’m transliteration it. I always wanted to learn to play the piano so about 2 years ago I took 8 months of piano lessons until I couldn’t afford them any more. I did learn ti play enought to play light classical music and read music, very slowly. Now I play for my own pleasure.
    I’m so sorry that you keep getting tested, it doesn’t seem fair. I’m glad you not giving up. I remember the story where a man was carrying a cross. He said to God this is too much to bear. God told him to go into the next room and put his cross down and pick any one he wanted. He went into the room and saw hundreds of crosses. They were Hugh. He looked around and finally found one that he thought he could handle. He picked it up and it seemed lighter. He left the room and God asked how it felt. The man said it seemed bearable. Then God said that’s the cross you came in with. God doesn’t give you more then you can handle.
    I hope next year will be better for you and that you have health and peace.

    Love Laurel


  18. Amy says:

    I’m totally with you about being skeptical of child sponsorship and all the stuff that goes with it. And yet, like you, I find something compelling in these stories. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a hard time lately, but I’m glad that even through the difficulties, you’ve found something that gives you hope and purpose.


  19. pieclown says:

    Hi Ana, As someone that volunteer quite a bit, I know that feeling that I am getting more then I am giving. For a short time I am a star, important, and someone they care about. This gives me a natural high when I hear them laugh. I got into clown because of my kinky nature. I know I walk a fine like between them. But I know this. As you said knowing your motivations, helps focus why your are there. I know I am there to get a pie in the face, but before that I am entertaining and sharing my talent. For me what I do is fun, and I feel a lot better leaving the hospital, at least most times. Some time we just have to do what we can, and if we get a feeling that we did some good, that that is acha. I know what you are saying about the image of great white savior, but when you do something good for yourself, and not for fame and glory. This is truly good. Have so that your “left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”
    pie pie 4 now


  20. P.T. Wyant says:

    Do you know the starfish story? Your post reminded me of it. Here’s the short version (or, rather, one version of the short version):

    A traveler was walking along a beach when he saw a woman scooping up starfish off the sand and tossing them into the waves. Curious, he asked her what she was doing. The woman replied “When the tide goes out it leaves these starfish stranded on the beach. They will dry up and die before the tide comes back in, so I am throwing them back into the sea where they can live.”

    The traveler then asked her “But this beach is miles long and there are hundreds of stranded starfish, many will die before you reach them – do you really think throwing back a few starfish is really going to make a difference?”

    The woman picked up a starfish and looked at it, then she threw it into the waves. “It makes a difference to this one” she said.

    There are other versions, some longer, some in poem form. While I was searching for it to post here I came across a poem that has this as the refrain:

    And he said, “It matters to this one.
    It deserves a chance to grow.
    It matters to this one.
    I can’t save them all I know.
    But it matters to this one,
    I’ll return it to the sea.
    It matters to this one,
    And it matters to me.”


  21. Renee says:

    Ana, I wish I could reach through the space of the internet and give you a hug. Here is a virtual hug (). I am so sorry that you are having such a tough time this season. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can tell you that you are right. We have to believe in a higher power, whatever that is for each person. I will tell you that I was diagnosed with a disease over 10 years ago. I have managed to hold it off for a long time. Over the last year it is beginning to get stronger. If I did not believe in something greater than myself, I would have given up a long time ago. You are very smart in reaching out to others, through your blog and your efforts. I got the crazy idea to start a very different type of school 5 years ago. Some days it is the only reason I get up and keep moving forward. I have to believe that there is something more than all this pain. Giving to others, helping others, and looking outside ourselves is the best thing we can do. As I read the various responses, that is something I see over and over. Keep on, keeping on. That’s what we need to do everyday. I pray that the light at the end of your current tunnel will get stronger and bigger every day. Blessings and hugs. R


  22. catrouble says:

    Hey sweet Ana…I am so sorry you have been hit with such hard knocks! I wish there was something I could do for you. Learning something new whether it me a new language, culture, skill, recipe, or whatever, reminds us that we are alive and moving forward. Sending lots of healing energy and positive thoughts your way.

    Hugs and Blessings…


  23. Marybeth says:

    Oh Ana, I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time. Please let yourself enjoy the small triumphs, the small joys, the small times of fun. Let it be acha.


  24. minellesbreath says:

    I am sorry that so much sadness is touching you these days. I agree with what all your friends here are saying to you.
    You always wish to give the love in your heart to others. It helps you heal.
    I always say when we give with good intensions that is most important.
    My wish is that you can feel better slowly…. One step at a time.


  25. michellewillms2013 says:

    Ana, 2013 was a year of darkness for me. I know what it’s like to walk alone, in pain. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I hope 2015 is better for you than this year has been. You are such a kind person and you bring such joy with you on this journey. I send you positive energy and hope for a brighter and more joyous year. I know I am blessed for having you in my life.


  26. thelongbean says:

    It is a poignant story and good that you are doing your little bit to help.
    It is always difficult to learn a new language when you are past normal school age. I am struggling too!


  27. Roz Harrison says:

    Ana, I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time and wish so much I could offer you more than a virtual hug. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you.



  28. Jay says:

    Ana you are an amazing woman with strength you yourself cannot see but is evident in your actions towards others. I know it’s hard to keep plugging away especially when you keep getting kicked down but please know that you aren’t alone. .. you have a huge “family” that is there for you for whatever you may need so please don’t forget that…


  29. Ami says:

    I am so sorry everything hurts so much, Ana. I can’t say anything that wouldn’t seem trite and insignificant; but I can offer a prayer, a listening ear, supportive virtual hugs. You are not alone and we are here should you wish to reach out.

    As for my thoughts on your sponsorship of a child; I think it is wonderful and important. If no-one put a pound (dollar) in the hand of a pavement beggar on the streets of a third world country, if no-one filled a shoebox to go to a child suffering from aids in an orphanage, if no-one bought a ‘goat’ from Oxfam – then the world would be much worse off. We have to keep believing. I know I cannot change the world but the small drops of water add up to an ocean.

    Hugs and blessings to you,


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