This last weekend we went, as a family, to the World Vision Experience: AIDS presentation. It travels throughout the US and we had heard really good things about it.
When we got there we were set up with an ipod shuffle and sent into a maze of connecting African themed areas. This was all set up in a room the size of a gym. In fact I think it was a gym - but they had transformed it.
We took our ipods and headed through a curtain of hanging strips of cloth into a small hut. There were four paths to take, depending on which ipod you were handed. Four stories of four African children all who's lives had been touched by AIDS.
Our narrator started telling the story of a young boy who's father had died of AIDS and who's mother was sick and dieing from it as well.
What really made the experience real was that there were photos of this boy and his brother. The story was true. All the stories were true.
The narrator sends you slowly through the maze of photos and exhibits. Eventually ending up at a clinic for an HIV test (the narrator asks you to put your hand up on a counter where it is stamped either + or -). I'm not sure how they decide who gets what stamp. But, some people walked away with a red + and others with a black - . We were lucky, ours was - .
The most powerful part for me was when my 4 year old son put his hand up for a stamp. I know that there are 4 year old children in Africa that test positive for HIV. It really hit home for me to see my son there. It was heartbreaking.
So many families fractured by AIDS. So much pain. We do our small part, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. I know it's not enough. But it is a small drop in a large pool. What would it take to beat AIDS, the horrible monster that is causing so many orphans and widows.
I encourage you to check out the World Vision website. Sponsor a child and make a small difference.
We have chosen to sponsor a boy with the same birthday as our son. I hope that over the years we can teach our son empathy and generosity. We have been blessed so much and I want him to appreciate that, but also to learn to pass on to those in need some of the blessing.
*Yes, my husband does work for World Vision. No, I wasn't asked to write about this and we don't get anything for this post.