today is worlds AIDS day... sadly i could put up many pictures of little faces i personally know who are living with HIV/AIDS. i could tell you countless stories of babies getting it from their mother, of little girls being raped, or women and children who had to sell their bodies to put food on the table. you see not everyone got HIV/AIDS because of their sinful lifestyle. regardless how HIV/AIDS was obtained, as a Christian we are called to be compassionate and love the those who Christ would love. that means the down and out, the poor, the sick, even those who have HIV/AIDS!
so let me tell you a little story...
when i lived in Kenya, i would visit the local "hospital" (if it where here, DHEC would shut it down in less than a heartbeat) a few times a week and even more when there were abandoned babies present. its run differently than our hospitals... all the women were in one huge room and the babies in a different room, the moms would only see their babies during feeding times, so i would go during feeding times to love on the abandoned ones. we would all sit in a big circle on benches feeding our babies. they would all be whispering but it was clear that they were talking about the mzungu (white person). some who did know english, including the nurses, would lecture me about touching the "sick" babies (they NEVER spoke the words HIV/AIDS). i didnt wear gloves (heck the nurses rarely had them anyways and only used them for the "sick" babies). they never touched the "sick" ones. they rarely changed the bedding (note, NO diapers). it was the responsibility of the mother to have some form of blanket for the baby to lay on, so the abandoned ones just had nasty, crusty, rough rags. i often would take the babies clean kanga's (colorful clothe that all the women used for carrying the babies on their back, as a skirt, head scarf, etc). i washed them, fed them, held them, and prayed for them. i worked with a missionary and the children's officer to get the paperwork moving in order to get the babies into an orphanage. once these children had someone actually caring for them, they would thrive! they would gain weight and would not be as sickly. they were not always newborns, but quite often weighed as much as a newborn here in the states! one baby in particular was roughly 9 months old and weighed less than either of my boys (who were both born nearly a month early). when they would get the the orphanage, they were given the antiretroviral drug, which help to improve the length and quality of life of someone with HIV/AIDS.
part of the problem is not admitting that there is a problem, clearly not even saying the words HIV or AIDS is representation that it is taboo and that needs to change, before real change can take place. many of the Christian students i studied with thought i was crazy for spending so much time with HIV/AIDS babies, because so many think it is contagious by contact, like a cold! it is important that men are being educated that having sex with a virgin will NOT cure them from AIDS. its no wonder that 33.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Every minute a child dies because of HIV/AIDS (stats taken from baptist global response).
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Posted by missing africa at 9:36 AM