Back in December I helped out with a camp for HIV+ kids that was sponsored by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The camp included kids from 11-18 years who were identified by their psychosocial counselors at the health centers where they seek treatment. The camp was a really great way for them to meet other kids who face the same challenges as they do!
With campers Kenneth, Shamimu, and Fred:
During the camp, we had a lot of get-to-know-each-other activities, lessons and discussions about dealing with the social aspects of having HIV, a lot of singing and dancing, and a lot of fun! Here are pictures from some of the events...
One day we took the kids to see the Nile River. On the way there, with the girls in the back of the bus:
Mayi, Babirye, & Stella
The kids at Bugagali Falls:
They had a lot of fun watching the daredevil men who make it down the falls by holding on to nothing but a 20-liter jerrycan full of air to help keep them afloat. They also really enjoyed watching an acrobat:
On another day we had a much-anticipated talent show:
There was lots of singing:
Fred, with backup singers Nasta, Ivan, Lucy, & Vivian
The show also included traditional dancing:
Which I eventually joining in...
As well as modern dancing:
Featuring counselors Robert and Seth- the latter came from LA to help with the camp!
There was also a fashion show-
Shamimu's outfit is made from paper bags that once held cement- amazing!
And, what is the end of camp without a celebratory cake?
I think that the best thing about the camp was that the kids got to be in a place where there was no discrimination against them by their peers or by their caretakers- which is usually not the case. But, at the camp, every single one of their fellow campers was HIV+ just like them, and every single one of their counselors knew that they deserved as much of a chance as any other kid.
It was a week that no one will soon forget!