A new volunteer arrived today, Chani from Ireland. She’s really sweet and gets along great with the kids. She’ll be teaching them some arts and crafts. Hooray!
I tutored all the kids today except for Matovu. Everyone did really well and Allen even wrote me a note:
For those of you that can’t read the small print…”message to auntie Colleen (new line) Thank you Colleen for teaching do like that every time (new line) God will give you a big blessing”
As I was in the middle of Peter’s lesson, I heard bawling coming from the girls’ room. I’m beginning to recognize the cries of the babies. And this was most certainly not a baby cry. Thirteen-year-old Natasha is curled up on Bernah’s lap, Bernah is stroking her face and Allen is standing by one of the triple bunk beds. In comes Halima and Hellen. Bernah stands up, I’m at this pointing sitting on the floor rubbing Natasha’s back. Natasha falls over onto me, still crying. Luganda, Luganda, Luganda. I can’t understand a word, but I’ve picked up that Allen (and Bernah?) did something to cause Natasha to cry. Five minutes later the conversation is still going on, and after some whimpering…Natasha has returned to a full-flegded wail. She is sobbing and melting onto my lap. There is no way we could continue to sit in that room. I stand up and make Natasha stand up. We find some shows and go for a walk to the main road. We grab some snacks, she’s whimpering the whole way. We finally sit down and eat, slowly Natasha calms down and starts explaining what has happened.
Apparently, Allen and Bernah made some comments about Natasha being HIV-positive. We talked. And after a lot of reassurance that while Natasha is HIV-positive, she is perfect, we headed back to the orphanage. Upon our return, Kyran comforted Natasha and I went outside to have Halima fully explain the situation to me. Bernah told Allen that Natasha was HIV-positive. Bernah never said anything nasty about Natasha. Allen told Natasha a lie when she said Bernah would abuse Natasha. Allen said some other things apparently, like she wouldn’t play with Natasha. I don’t know?
I hated the part of junior high where I didn’t get invited to certain parties. I hate the gossip and rumors that still exist in adult life. But dang, we never dealt with stuff like this. Is it everyday life here that children with HIV get singled out? Is the gossip going around schools that so-and-so has AIDS or HIV?
I talked with Allen. I talked with Natasha. Poor Natasha’s heart is completely broken, and Allen should have known better. My heart is broken for Natasha’s pain and faultless disease. My heart is broken because Allen, a really great girl, didn’t react better to the situation and handle it with class.
One another note, I participated with the children tonight again during their pre-dinner Jesus time. Why’d it take me so long to start doing that?!
A man after my own heart. James and his mud pies.
I love you and I miss you, but Secreto de Amor is on and we’re all watching.