Thursday, December 1, 2011

Love One

Every 20 seconds, someone loses their life to AIDS. But the impact of those deaths reaches far beyond that one person. A mother just lost a son. A young girl just lost her best friend and playmate. A teenage boy just lost his mentor. A school just lost its best teacher. The shop down the street just lost its owner. And a hospital has one less nurse to treat the sick. Wives are left heart broken and children are left orphans without any hope.

In the time it took you to read that paragraph, another community lost an important member.

And over the next hour, 240 more will die of the terrible disease. Over the next year, approximately 2 million people will die of HIV/AIDS.

Out of all the areas of the world, sub-Saharan Africa has been affected the worst. This area of the world holds just 10% of the world's population but is home to 67% of people in the world living with AIDS. Most people don't know they have it. They are among the walking dead. And those who know they have it, often can't afford to buy the medication that will save their lives.

The people who are impacted the most are the children. They're left behind as the family's breadwinners, raising their younger siblings, growing up faster than any child should have to all because of this silent killer.

Today is World AIDS day, a day to raise awareness about this global pandemic that is now second only to the Black Death as the largest in history. It's a day to look at the facts before us and take a stand.

I'm wearing a special shirt in honor of my brothers and sisters at Upendo who've been affected in some way by this disease. These are sweet kids who have stolen my heart over the years.

On the front the shirt says 147 Million Orphans (the estimated number of children living without parents in our world today). On the back it says this:

That's all God calls us to do, just to love one. When we see the statistics they can feel overwhelming. 2 million people will die this year of AIDS alone. That doesn't include the million more that will die this year of malaria, or the millions more that will die from hunger. By ourselves we can't rid the world of these statistics. But we can make a difference if we would do what we could for one, if we fed one, if we helped give medical care to one. The world is much too big for one person to do all the work. But we can make a difference if we just love one.

- Aly

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