Through the Eyes of a Child
BY Bob Adams
July 01 2008 12:00 AM ET
Organizers of the More Life festival'a monthlong series of HIV awareness events involving more than 45 arts, science, and educational organizations in Fort Worth, Texas'knew it was important to include the voices and viewpoints of children who have been affected by the pandemic.
Through a citywide art competition and a creativity camp for kids with loved ones fighting the disease, their unique perspectives were collected for Angels at My Door, a profoundly moving book of drawings and essays that focus on how goodness, joy, peace, and faith can be uplifting for HIVers.
'There's a purity to how children see things,' says Deborah Jung, executive director of Kids Who Care Musical Theatre and coauthor of the book. 'More open and forgiving, a child sees AIDS through the eyes of hope'how to love someone with AIDS, how to pray for them, how to remind them to take care of themselves, and that no matter what, everything will be OK.'
From the kids' essays:
'People with AIDS'don't feel left out. Sooner or later we are going to come up with something to help you. You are not alone. I am by your side. No matter what, I am going to do all I can to help you.'
'Omar, age 7
'If somebody is sick, a mom gets the phone and they call the hospital. If he's great or not great, he gets the medicine. If he's great, he will be happy and he can play and run and play with his toys. He can do whatever he wants.'
'My mama was a caring person. She did everything for me. She loved me no matter what. She was always there for me and my two younger sisters. She fought AIDS for seven years, and she taught me everything there is to know. My mama loved and showed her feelings for everyone. My mama is the type of mama you want. I love my mama very much, and I miss her.'
'Kia, age 16
'She's fighting a battle. A battle of life, she wants to win. She has one beautiful daughter who she loves very much, and I love her back.' She is my angel, and she is going to win this battle.'
'Taylor, age 15
'I want people to stop using drugs. Just have hope and pray and know that you matter. God has your back.' I want you to know I believe you'll make it.'
'Jamie, age 13
'I hope people know that we are still by their side no matter what. If we have AIDS or not, it really doesn't matter.'
'Luis, age 13
'The doctor did some tests. When the doctor came into Angel's room, she began to cry because he told her that she had AIDS. And her baby was dying.'
'Charmayne, age 13
'When I want to understand any question of truth more clearly, I simply speak to a child.'
'Deborah Jung, coauthor of Angels at My Door