Thursday, August 14, 2008

heavy stuff.

I spent the morning 'volunteering' at Settler's Hosipital in the Children's HIV treatment centre. My job was to color with the kids while we waited for them to receive their ARV treatment, and then afterward while they waited for the blood test results.

I colored very hard. I colored like it was the last job I would ever have. I colored in panic, knowing I would only have a few minutes with each kid, and I was desperate to give them something.

It doesn't make sense. I mean, I study a lot about AIDS. All I do is read and write about it all day. And I go to AIDS testing centers, and I go to schools for street kids, and I take courses that study all of the underlying causes, so I get it. I get it. But I don't get it.

For each kid, I made a picture with their name in it, with animals, shapes or flowers all around their name. Some of the kids made me one, too, which was beyond precious.

The last kid I was coloring with didn't know how to write her name. I say her-- but I am actually not sure if it was a boy or a girl. She was completely emaciated. She almost didn't look entirely human - her eyes were so big and sunken into her head, the little bones were so sharp and looked like they were going to break through her skin. She was dying. I don't know how old she was - maybe 6? She was so tired, I could barely get her to color at all. We drew a lot of shapes together, like circles, triangles, squares, hearts. Then I drew a star and she looked up at me all shocked. So we spent the next 20 minutes or so learning how to draw stars, her mimicking me. Each time she completed one, she would smile this beautiful smile that literally melted my heart right out of my chest and onto the table. At the end, she drew one all by herself, and then had to go in for her treatment. She took the paper with her stars with her.

After she came out she was too tired to do much more, so I colored in the stars for her.

There is nothing fair about it.
I am angry.

1 comment:

Katee said...

Love this post Haley....