Posts Tagged ‘sponsor’

My Superwoman complex

Me! I will save the day! I can do it! Me! I’ll fix it! I’ll make it! I’ll do it! Let me!

Every so often, I see a thing/person/situation that needs fixing or helping and my mind goes into overdrive. I’m convinced that I’ll be able to fix it and save the world.

The situation will often involve me needing skills I do not currently possess. But I am not to be dissuaded! No, not me! I shall not let little things like this stop me from saving the day.

An example of this was a few years ago, when I went to the Philippines to visit a little girl called Kimberly, who I sponsor out there. The whole sponsoring thing is another Superwoman thing – I will save all the children of the world via £12 a month!

So I’m visiting Kimberly and I noticed her younger sister had a limp. The family told me that she’d been given too much medication for something when she was a baby and now the left side of her body didn’t work properly.

Inevitably, this situation brought out my Superwoman complex. I fussed over her and photographed her and generally tried to make her feel part of the gang. Then when I left, I was like, “I’m going to save her! Me! I’ll save her from her limp! I’ll fix it!”

I started making grand plans to get her seen by a paediatrician. Given that there is one nurse per five islands in that area of the Philippines, I was obviously aiming a bit high, expecting that a) there’d be a local paediatrician and b) they’d be able to drop everything and run to see her.

There are two children’s hospitals in the whole of the Philippines (which is made up of over 7,000 islands so you see the numbers are against me here) but one of them was close-ish. In my mind, I had taken her to the capital city myself, found this children’s hospital, pleaded with the doctors to do whatever you do to fix the problem (the idea that there might not be a cure was not on my radar, my Superwoman complex does not allow for ‘no’ as an answer), they had responded favourably and been like, “O yes, Laura, we will do that because you are Superwoman and we will do whatever you need us to.”

I had also found a kind soul to give us a room in their splendid mansion (people have mansions in Manila, right?) and I would stay with her until she was well again and running around all carefree and well and healthy, like her sister.

I didn’t see a flaw in my plan. There was no reason why it wouldn’t work, of course there wasn’t!

There was only, you know, the fact that I was in the middle of a university course and didn’t really have the time/money to just move to the Philippines for a while and hadn’t the proper visas or whatever to stay there for any length of time. There was also the fact that, although I had been sponsoring her sister for a little while, I was, essentially, a stranger, and how likely was it that her family would just hand her over to me to run off to another part of the country with. There was also the fact that the organisation that I sponsor her sister through would mostly be like, “Um, you know you can’t just turn up to visit your sponsor child and run off with her little sister, right?”

Instead, I did the most appropriate thing, sent an email with my concerns to the organisation, they had a nurse assess her and do a medical report and promise to keep an eye on the situation and inform me of what action they might take if it didn’t correct itself as she grew up.

This seems lovely and fabulous, this helping.

But my Superwoman complex has always been a little disappointed that I didn’t take more direct action with Kimberly’s sister.

It can kick in at anytime, this Superwoman thing. I don’t even realise it’s happening til I’m elbow deep in a toilet bowl with a rudimentary unblocker thing that I’ve made out of a wire clothes hanger, going “Don’t worry! I’ll fix it! Me! I’ve got it! I’m doing it!”

It all sounds very nice, doesn’t it? Being a superhero. Fixing things. Helping people. Saving the world.

But, boy, the disappointment that inevitably comes with the times I have bowled on in to fix something that I have no idea about and not been able to. I’m sure most people would be like, “It’s no big deal. I don’t have any skills in that so of course I couldn’t do it.”

My main issue is that in my mind, I’m like a stealthy ninja. I am capable of things people think are impossible. In the words of Team America’s Kim Jong-Il, “I’m the smartest, most crever, most physicry fit.” I can rescue people from danger, successfully operate on life-threatening brain tumours, outsmart baddies, answer every difficult question (even about things I’ve never heard of, that’s how clever I am), lift really heavy things, bake the most delicious cakes anyone has ever tasted and just generally astound and amaze those around me. I’m also beautiful in an au naturel, beach babe type of way.

I’m an eternal disappointment to myself that none of the above is true.

It doesn’t stop me doing the Superwoman thing though. And you’ll be pleased to hear that I did manage to unblock the toilet.

A dedication to my childhood friend

My favourite friend when I was a little girl at school had blond hair, like me. She was a little bit short, like me. And we were always together. People used to mix us up.

One time we swapped shoes for fun at breaktime and forgot to swap them back. Our parents were quite annoyed at us when we went home with the wrong shoes on.

We used to play with two dinosaur shaped erasers, one blue and one green. The game we played consisted of us burying the dinosaurs at break time then coming back at lunch time and digging them up. It was a pretty good game, if I remember rightly. We were about six years old and inseparable.

When we were about nine or ten, my favourite friend said she was moving away. They were moving Wales, which was the other side of the world for all I knew! I now know that it was essentially just down the road, a few hours at most. But then, it was the most far away place I could imagine. I was pretty gutted.

A few years of letter-writing later and we planned a visit. My mum drove a friend and I to her house and we stayed overnight. It was hilarious. We ‘made’ a Ouija board and made out we were terrified of looking in the mirror at midnight. We giggled and pulled our stuff into the front room, away from the mirrors, to sleep.

A few years later, my friend came to Liverpool to stay over. Another friend was there too and we had great fun. The next visit was a few years later, when my friend came to look at the university in Liverpool on an open day.

Then I left for Africa and lost contact with most people. I then went to university in Glasgow for a bit and one day, I decided to try texting her old phone number. She was still using it! Amazing! A bit of catch up and lunch in Liverpool next time I was back re-established the friendship.

Next thing I knew, I was back and forth travelling quite a bit before settling into a different course in London and we start emailing again. She’s in Thailand, teaching! Perfect. I had just started sponsoring a little girl in Viet Nam and was really keen to visit her. So I planned a trip to see my little sponsor girl in Viet Nam and my friend in Thailand. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was such fun.

The next year, after she had returned to England, I went back to Asia with a friend and she came for two weeks of our trip. That was in 2007. She moved to Hungary for a few years next.

I don’t think we’ve seen each other since then. We’ve been friends a long time now. Over twenty years. I don’t think I’ve known anyone (excluding family) for that long!

And then, a few months ago, my friend Facebooked. She had a place on a postgraduate course at my old university, down the road!

This is very exciting. For a whole year, my childhood best friend will be living down the road, instead of across the world.

Tonight, she is coming for dinner. I am preparing a feast. When I get excited, I cook. I hope I don’t burn everything now, in a frenzy of excitement and forgetfulness.