Girl to help teen-ager in Ecuador

June 06, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

Angelikia "Angie" Bowens pulled a picture of a 13-year-old girl from an envelope as she sat in a booth at a fast-food restaurant, drinking a vanilla shake and picking at super-size fries.

The brown eyes that stared back into Angie's brought a smile of pride.

"I just wanted to help her," 14-year-old Angie said of Dilcia Yaguana Salazar, the Ecuadorean child she is sponsoring through Children International in Missouri. "I hope she can get better clothing and maybe a better home for her family."

While watching MTV on a Saturday afternoon in early May, Angie saw the child's picture in a commercial.

Without consulting her parents, Angie dialed the number before it could disappear from the screen and offered to become a sponsor.

"I really didn't know if my mom would let me do it," Angie said of her impromptu call to Children International. "She had said she wanted to do it one time, but I knew she wouldn't have time.

"On TV they look so helpless," she said of the children. "They look like they need something."

What Angie thought Dilcia needed most was her -- even though Angie lives with her mother and stepfather, Trina and Allen Costley, and has no job.

Angie said she will donate $10 from the $54 Social Security check she receives each month for her father's disability.

"I know I can do it," Angie said. "It's only $10 a month."

"She told me later that she had called [to sponsor a child]," said Mrs. Costley, "but I didn't know she really had until the things came in the mail. But it's just like Angie."

And what is "just like Angie"? In August, the East Middle School eighth-grader became a vegetarian because she likes animals too much to eat meat. She also says she adores Michael Jackson because he is cute, sings well and helps people.

And she, like the Gloved One, has worked to recruit others to her cause.

"I've told my friends that I have sponsored a child, and that it's kind of neat," she said casually, sampling another fry. "And a lot of them already want to do it."

Angie said she will do research on Ecuador to find out more about Dilcia's country -- especially the weather.

"I want to see what the climate is like because if she writes to me and says she needs clothes, I'll know what to send," Angie said.

Angie always seems to think ahead. She acts like a mother to siblings Quante, 10; Emmaria, 9; Shalanda, 8; and Kia, 5. She looks out for the younger children when her parents are out, she said. Laughing, she added that most of her time is spent baby-sitting.

Despite their different homelands, Angie said she believes that she and Dilcia have a lot in common.

They both like to sing and enjoy basketball. Both girls have household chores, but the two differ on favorite school subjects -- Dilcia likes science and Angie likes language arts.

But it's in the living arrangements that Angie figures she has found a kindred spirit.

Dilcia's family lives in a two-bedroom house, and she has two brothers and five sisters.

Angie's family lives in a three-bedroom home on South Center Street, where Angie shares a bedroom with two of her sisters.

"I think she and her sisters have to share a bedroom. They probably fight, too," Angie said. "I know I have to share a bedroom with my sisters and they are messy."

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