02 June 2009

A Story I Heard Today…

A girl was working with an NGO, right here in Kenya, a few years ago.  She was focused on the eradication of AIDS, an epidemic that gets much press in the US.  We see Bono campaigning all around the world for the need to end AIDS.  Much money is poured into research for the cure, money is dispensed to NGO’s who work to end the virus.  We see the way it ravages this part of the world, learn how it has caused many orphans and high infant mortality rates.  She went to fight and be one more for the cause.  Her NGO gave out meds and provided free tests.  She helped people who were otherwise in a bad place get the help that they very much needed.  One day, she walked out of a clinic to find a woman crying.  She had seen this before, life can be hard for people living in poverty and AIDS can only make things worse.  The stigma for many can be permanently damaging and destroy an entire family.

She wept and this young girls heart dropped, every time she saw this she felt for the people who had to learn about being positive.  She approached with care, hoping to provide some sort of comfort in a time when there is no way to really help.  She asked, “What is wrong?”  With tears streaming down her face, the woman spoke softly, “I am negative.”  Confused, the girl asked again, “negative,” she responded once again.

Needing to know more, the American girl asked the Kenyan HIV negative young woman why she would be crying when she learned that she did not have HIV.  She said that she let her family down.  She would not be able to provide food and medicine for her family.  For, if she was positive, the NGO would provide food and medical assistance.  Being negative, she was left with nothing.  She had to return home to tell her family that she was unable to bring anything home.