Reflections on Alex Foto

This is a collection of stories, reflections, and responses to the life of World Vision Youth Ambassador, Alex Foto

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Meghan, Guelph, Canada

Lorena Schule, Germany
I spent some hours thinking about the right words to describe Alex. Then I came to the conclusion that there aren’t the right words to characterize a person like her. Inspiring isn’t enough because she touched people, me included, in a way I’ve never seen before. Cheerful isn’t enough because in the whole time we were together in Brazil there was not only one minute I saw her sad, there was no moment I didn’t see her smiling. Optimistic isn’t enough because she gave me the feeling that quitting things was never an opinion for her. Selfless isn’t enough because her whole way of living was geared to help others. I only had eight days in Brazil with Alex. But I think only one day with her is enough to understand what kind of person she was. I am very glad I had the chance to meet her because even in these eight days she left a little bit “Alex” in me. And this is what makes me happy. I am sure that she left a bit “Alex” in everybody she talked to.

Jon, Waterloo, Canada – Blogging his journey at
“I could never do that”. Those are the words that I never heard Alex say. Ironically, those are often the first words I hear when I tell someone I am racing in a half ironman. And that is why I’m doing it. Because Alex never accepted the status quo that she could not accomplish something, whether it was fundraising thousands of dollars for her favourite charity or going the extra mile in her workout. I’m racing to live like Alex.

Elis Conceição, Brazil
Her eyes shone! It was the first thing I noticed in Alex. I regret her departure so early … I’m sure that many lives have been transformed while she was among us.
I pray that there are many others with the same strength, love, courage and faith that Alex had. I hope that her work was not in vain.
We continue by you Alex and so many others that have been taken. God bless us.

Selome, Ethiopia

Q. What is a memory you have with Alex?
Selome: Swimming in Brazil
Q. what made it special?
Selome: It was my first time!!!
Q. What did Alex do?
Selome: She was trying to teach me and my friend how to swim
Q. What do you remember about the way she taught you?
Selome: She was smiling, holding my hand, and pulling me to her and saying “Ya! You did it!”

**Alex taught three of our Ethiopian roommates and friends how to swim while in Brazil. They were scared but she made them feel confident and by the end of the week they were doing it! They loved swimming and they loved her!**

Bjorn Be, Germany
Alex Foto. I had to think a while about how I met Alex, I mean the first time when we really talked to each other. But when I went through pictures of a photo album I remembered it easily. It was on the third day of the World Vision Cup in Brazil. A few people were chosen to go to the airport of Recife for the vaccination against bad treatment, an event which was supposed to make tourists aware of child violence in Brazil. It was the first time when I really noticed Alex. She acted with so much passion and talked to more travelers in the airport than anyone else.

On the bus ride back to the camp, we talked to each other a lot. It was the beginning of a very good friendship. She told me so many stories of her trips to Kenya and Dominican Republic and the child she sponsored there. I was more and more impressed after every story I heard. I’ve never met a person who had such a big heart and worked with so much passion toward her dreams. Alex was really the type of person who could really make a difference and change the world.

I remember when Alex arrived at breakfast or other meetings, she greeted us everytime with a very friendly “Hi friends!” And somehow it always changed my mood 100% happy. By the end of the World Vision Cup, Alex and I became really good friends. On our last day, I told her about my exchange year in Rochester, New York and my experiences. She also showed me two Canadian country songs which I also really liked. It was “Canadian Girls” by Dean Brody and “Stronger Beer” by Tim Hicks. But the best outcoming of that conversation was that she said she is living in London, Canada which is only 3 hours away, what a nice coincidence! I promised her when I’ll visit my friends in Rochester, I’ll make it to London and we could travel Canada or the US with my American friends. She also told me that she would like to visit me in Germany and travel Europe.

Alex was the person I bonded with and learned the most from during the World Vision Cup. Afterwards we stayed very close and kept in touch frequently. During the real world cup in Brazil we both cheered for Columbia and Germany, and I think I was able to make her into a Germany fan after Columbia was out of the cup.

Alex accomplished more in her short life than most people ever will. She also touched so many people by her stories. I’m sure she still does great things from up there and is watching over us. She will always be remembered and I’m very thankful for what she has taught me. I will never forget her. I think the project #LiveLikeAlex will honor her very well; I think that is exactly what she wants to see us do.

Fion, London,UK (Friend of Alex, travelled to Dominican & Brazil)

Q: What’s one word that you think of when you hear her name?

Fion: Excited.

Q: Why?

Fion: I didn’t know why she was so excited for everything but she was!

Q: How did her being excited for everything affect you?

Fion: Watching her get excited for all the things she was doing made me wonder why. Especially when it was things that made me feel scared or angry or tired or things that seemed tedious. So then I’d try the things she was trying or I would ask her about the things she was doing. And sometimes we would do those things together. And she made that very exciting. And I realized that she really liked what she was doing. That’s why she always volunteered to speak or lead when everyone else was being too shy or too polite or too cool or too busy. Especially busy.

Q: Can you give me an example?

Fion: Big things like giving a house dedication speech with a partner and leading Famine. And smaller things like when she heard I was at her university, she offered to show me around. And she was very open and excited about approaching people too. Like the kids we met. She wasn’t shy about speaking or at least trying to speak. She was also open with her love and affection. I’m not very open because it makes me nervous but when we were in Brazil she would jump on me and give me a hug. It was just nice because she made sure you knew she cared for you. In hindsight that’s a really good way of going about it because you never know when you won’t be able to anymore.
She was even excited to exercise. One morning in Brazil we woke up to go for a quick run and then workout. The workout app she had on her phone was called Deck of Death. I should have realized what I was getting into when she told me that but I agreed anyway. It was hot, we were sweating, on a field, in Brazil, ‘flipping’ cards on her phone and doing push-ups and these strange workouts for your abs and I was panting and she was like we got this.
But that was really funny.
She was so undeterred by life… I mean come on the app is called Deck of Death. I wouldn’t even have downloaded it.