Peter and I went roadtrippin to check out the prices of bicycles and visit a few participants.
Our first stop was to Annet’s house. What a lovely surprise! It was so wonderful to see her smiling, happy and healthy. When we met Annet in 2008, it was during a very hard time in her life. She had many challenges; her health was poor, she wasn’t going to school, and she barely spoke. This time around, she was beaming. As I sat on the wooden stool among Peter, Annet and her mother, I felt so grateful. What a priviledge to be here among such strong, real people.
Annet is Living with HIV.
Today we visited Nadunga Lukaya, a new participant from Mbale. Just three years old and she has already faced more adversity than many experience in a lifetime. Both of her parents recently passed away from AIDS related illnesses, leaving her in the care of grandmother who is in her late eighties.
When we visited Nadunga she was frightened by my white skin – she kept her eyes covered, even after being coaxed with sweets and ugandan coins.
I was the first white person she had ever seen. At the sight of me, she screamed, cried and then held her little hands over her eyes for the entire visit.
And even though I wanted her to feel comfortable and take her hand away from her eyes, I somehow understood her fear. This was the first HIV+ three year-old orphan I had ever met. I too felt like closing my eyes. Not to make her disappear, rather to avoid seeing her pain and suffering – so I could pretend everything was okay.
If only life were that easy…
It’s not always easy to face our fears, but when we do, the opportunity for true understanding and empathy arises. Thank you Nadunga for helping me see your situation more clearly.
I know this trip will have it’s ups and downs, and we may not
improve the lives of every child we meet, but we can at least make small steps to helping our current participants get a foot on the ladder of development.
However small of an offering it may be, we will be providing Nadunga’s family with 5 chickens, vaccines for the birds, a bicycle, training from the vet and a chicken coop.