Many months ago sitting at my desk praying for the children at the orphanage and making preparations for our mission trip this June I had an overwhelming urge to get them all tested for HIV. After reading the short descriptions from them about how their parents died and seeing all the cases of HIV as the cause I knew we had to find out who has it. So I wrote to Elitia and asked if it were possible to get them all tested and I assured her we would pay for it because it is such a vital beginning point in servicing their health. So Adams and Elitia made all of the necessary arrangements to bring a team from the Ministry of Health in Uganda to come to the children’s home and test them.
Many of the neighbors came to be tested as well and this is exciting that we were able to offer this service to them. The children were very brave about having their blood drawn. I love to see their smiling faces showing their paperwork. I am reminded when I see this that it means to them that someone cares about them. And so many people care about these children now. My job is to bring their existence to hearts of people who can encourage and support them and so many have responded. I just love my job!
Sixty-one tests were done and only two new cases were discovered. They will be re-tested and we can hope for a false positive. But if not, now we can proceed to get them enrolled into a program where they can receive treatment. Currently there are people who have lived with HIV for decades if they are treated properly. And for all of those who tested negative, what a relief it will be for them to know this for sure. We can follow up with HIV education so they won’t apply the usual fear and stigma that surrounds this disease, but learn to face it head on for what it is and fight it.
There’s such a fear of HIV in Africa that many refuse to find out if they have it. They rather just say they are ill, or blame a witch doctor for putting a curse on them. This is so dangerous because they continue to spread it in their ignorance and fear. To admit one has HIV carries with it undue shame and this causes concealing behavior, which has fatal consequences. When our team is there in June we will talk to everyone about HIV and hope that education will eradicate the irrational nature of the fear around it. And we will also do much teaching about the prevention of it as we counsel the children.
I’m so pleased we have the opportunity to shape the minds of these children so they can be aware, educated, and equipped to protect themselves. There’s so much power with knowledge. What a privilege it is for us to be able to help at least a few. I know I can’t change the world, but I can change the lives of these children, and it will affect how they influence the generations that will come after them. This gives me great peace and satisfaction.
If you would like to help these children we have added a store to our nonprofit’s website: www.kiraboseeds.com
There you can see crafts made in the village where the children are from and purchase them. Every dollar spent on these items goes directly to help the children. I hope you will have a look at the necklaces, bracelets and baskets.