While volunteering in the Dominican Republic I was faced with the sad fact that most people are very uneducated about Aids!
Bob was brought to us one day – approximately a year old weighing just over 10 lbs. At the time he was brought in we did not know his name and my friend named him Bob and it stuck. This little boy was so weak that all he was simply skin & bones. In our “uneducated” state we just naturally assumed that he was starving and we set out to feed and nourish him back to health. After a month or so, Bob did not seem to be gaining much weigh &, his constant runny nose, cough and the ever present sores just would not go away. He was taken back to the doctor who had first seen him and he immediately said we must have him tested for HIV ……….this tiny little boy had to be tested for HIV ! We also found that HIV testing can be unreliable until the child reaches a certain age but they were quite confident that he had tested positive for HIV. When I received the call from my friend to inform me of the positive testing, I remember sitting there with tears in my eyes thinking “ this little boy is going to die from Aids” not realizing at the time that testing positive for HIV and actually having full blown Aids were quite different!
Much education was needed for all of us. Even the nurses in the home we volunteered in had never handled a child that was HIV positive. Some of the nurses were afraid and would not touch him, but some chose to educate themselves so they could help him properly. The doctor prescribed a drug plan that had to be given daily at certain times, proper diet and so on, but the expense report was huge. His family could not afford to feed him properly, so they certainly could not afford the medicine. A sponsor had to be found that would pay for the medication, and after few weeks of looking my friend finally found one who would pay for the medicine and the drug program was started but it took months and months before a difference could be seen in his health.
The doctor went to the village to speak with his mama a few months after Bob was diagnosed HIV positive. He was quite certain the mother had the same fate as her son but when she was faced with taking the test and finding the truth she refused and would not tell the doctor any of the names of the men she had been with so he could get them tested. The only way to stop the spread of HIV was to be tested, and then treated properly and education was so critical, BUT ………. Frustrated with her lack of help with the situation the doctor knew he had to do something so he began to hold classes at the home where BOB was recovering. The classes surprisingly were quite well attended, but never did the mother attend. Many were educated during these classes but to this day the mother who is very ill now and has returned to Haiti, never came !!
Bob is now three and a half years old, living with a foster family. He is attending a pre-kindergarten class and thriving, thanks to the love, care and devotion of four women. This little boy has four women that make sure he has a home, medicine, food, clothing, school and hugs as often as possible.He has a constant home with a woman who knows how to look after him properly, who shares her home and her family with him.He has a grandma figure that lives near him 6-8 months out of each year and works so hard to make sure the funds needed are available. He has two other women that bring a whole new meaning to the word FUN!! They come and go throughout the year but are always are in touch, making sure he is looked after and has what he needs. When they are in the Dominican Republic he is taken with them where ever they go, his picture is taken ( he loves to see his picture) ,he gets more hugs than he can handle and he adores them !
Being HIV positive has brought to this little boy’s life one thing that to this day we have not been able to overcome. Because of this dreadful disease no one wants to adopt him and give him a forever home. Many have asked about him in regards to adoption but as soon as they hear the words HIV positive, they get that look and they slowly quit calling. Do I blame them? No, but it breaks my heart a little bit each day ~~~ I wish that I could stop crying for this little boy and ADOPT HIM, what about you?
For more information about how to help bring more smiles to Bob’s face please visit Dominican Feed The Children by clicking the link below.