There are two things that always impact me when I get the chance to speak to children affected and/or infected by AIDS in Africa. First of all, they don't know how to dream. That's right - they think their life is going to end at a young age because they saw their parent(s) die of this horrible virus. It is only after the children have started taking regular doses of life-saving medicine, when they receive the food they need to gain weight, when they get regular medical checkups, and when they feel free to share their fears that they also start sharing their hopes and dreams. It is amazing to see their gorgeous eyes light up when they can say with certainty, "Tanya, one day, I will be a nurse", or "I have always wanted to be a teacher and now i KNOW I can be one". Amazing - each time this happens, I just have to smile and hug the child.
The other thing that amazes me of these kids is their complete dedication to school and education. They know that without it, they won't be able to move forward in life. Without parents, most of them, and with meager incomes, these kids know that their salvation is through education and a good job. The only way to get out of the slumb is to study, get good grades, study some more, and get a good job. They value education SO much, it puts me to shame. I see how some kids in United States groan about homework, about having to go to school, about taking tests and I just get a bit sad. Here are kids, on the other side of the world with nothing to their name, but they are proud to be a student. They get up early, wash up and many times, walk 2 hours to get to school - barefooted in most cases and without lunch for later on. They get home late and do chores, taking care of siblings. Then, by candlelight, they do their homework. And they dream.
In my mind as I type this update, I see the kids - Mofat, Samuel, Beverlyne - so brave, so amazing. And so grateful for the change you are giving them. So am I.
On behalf of the eight children that are going to school thanks to you,