One face of Aids in Africa

I am a face on a calendar

because I have a disease.

A disease I was born with,

that killed my mother and father.

I am a lucky girl because

I get to take medicine.

Medicine, so that I can live.

Most of the people in Khayelitsha

are not so lucky.

Almost everybody I know has this disease,

except the people who work

at Baphumelele Children’s Home.

People who leave their comfortable houses in Cape Town

and come to where we live

to help us.

They give us medicine.

They bring us shoes and clothes.

They teach us how to read, write

and paint our portraits with bright colors.

Some people think our care givers are crazy.

There are too many of us, they think.

“You can’t empty an ocean with a bucket,” they say.

But I heard one of the nurses respond,

“We will try, one bucket at a time.”

I am glad that they gathered me

in one of those buckets.

I have hope.

I have a future.

I am more than the face of aids.

Look closely,

I am your neighbor.