We just got back from a long weekend spent at the OASIS site Purnata Bhavan; a home for people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. We stayed in the home with them, in a small room next to the health clinic, where every morning and evening the nurses have the tedious job of making sure that the dozens of residents who need medicine for Aids, HIV, TB, etc.; get it.
The stories in this place represent the rawness that is life. One young girl (we were asked to not disclose names) weighs only 28 lbs and is 8 years old. She has AIDS and TB, and needs 24/7 care. She was brought to PB as a last resort – the group home for HIV/Aids kids she was in before had actually let her health deteriorate, rather than nursing her back to health. The PB staff has rallied around this young girl, and in the last month and a half she has gone from not speaking and immobile to walking, smiling, eating and laughing. It’s really a miracle, and it was an honor to be able to sit with her, draw with her, and laugh with her. Keep her in your prayers that she continues getting better.
Another story is of a young boy, age 12, who is also HIV positive. 6 years ago his mother lit her sari on fire, and he reached out to grab her, resulting in the left side of his body being badly burned and scarred. When he was given a blood transfusion he contracted the Aids Virus. He was sent to PB, not allowed in public schools because of the virus. Another miraculous story, this young man is now at the top of his class, full of joy and life. We had a blast playing with him and reading with him.
Many more are street kids, or were once working in the red light area. It was amazing to spend time with them – become their friend, hear their stories, and observe their interactions.
It was a beautiful weekend – we felt invited into a huge family. I was reminded how important love is – how we need it to survive.
– Whenever the kids would run past they would always shout “good morning didi” (big sister)
– Learning how to make Chapatti and Bendi with the women in the kitchen (so good!)
– The moment when the 8 year old girl mentioned above knew who I was… I walked in the room and she smiled a huge smile and put her tiny hands up in the air for me to pick her up.
– When Leela, the kitchen staff, busted in on us taking a nap and demanded “you sleep!? when you leave!? don’t leave! move to PB!”
– Visiting Rita’s home and meeting her family.
– The runs to the dam – beautiful!
Today, we are off to Goa for a mini vacation… beach, books, and beach. 🙂