Around the 3rd or 4th day here, the visual and emotional stimuli reach a point where one cannot help but let the tears flow. And so you do.
Today was the second of the three days at the hospital’s HIV clinic, meeting with the children in A Call to Mercy’s program. The ages today were 10-13. This group is the age that Project Hope staff begins the process of disclosure about the disease to the children. There is still an enormous stigma attached to HIV in Africa. Project Hope takes tremendous care and with great sensitivity helps the children come to terms with this disease that has infected their bodies. Today’s lesson involved discussing a display board of a child surrounded by green creatures which represent policemen or soldiers that were there to fight the yellow “germs” that attack their bodies. The medicine that they come to get each month and take every day strengthens the green policemen to fight the yellow germs. The goal is to encourage responsibility and an age appropriate understanding of the need to take the medicine everyday, without fail. After the lesson, the children drew themselves surrounded by strong green creatures, “policemen”, that were strengthened by the medication to fight the yellow germs. They understood the lesson well.