Waiting For Hope.

Small, delicate, pure little fingers wrapped around mine. Dark brown innocence entwined with golden tanned skin, made ever so white in contrast. Did this beautiful boy have any inkling of the twist his life was about to take? Or was this just reality here in the amazingly rich landscape of inspiration and personal sorrow?

My trip to Uganda began with the intention of lending my experience and limited knowledge of the business world to the rural communities of this wondrously breathtaking country. The adventure turned out to be so much more. Rather than me lending my skills and experience, I was given a renewed sense of humanity and the harsh reality of the 'third world' that passes as easily down here as the breeze. A little hand in mine represented so much more than I could ever begin to adequately describe.

Waiting in the Kampala hospital with two children ages 8 and 11; waiting for, potentially, the most dreadful of results. His hand in mine, innocence and hope in his eyes; agonizingly we waited. At the sweet age of 25, when many are enjoying the most precious years of their lives, Frankie’s mother was waiting to find out if her HIV had been passed down to her children. Pinpointing when she might have contracted the disease is nearly impossible, so we waited. Three, then four hours pass. Feigning playfulness and smiles is exhausting, with the knots in my stomach palpable. Killing me slowly.

If relief is what I felt, then relief is like stepping out of the shadows, immersed in sunlight; radiant with joy as it washed over me slowly head to toe. Euphoria. I can only hope that it continued through our entwined hands and washed equally over Frankie in our moment of solace.

A bond was forged that day; one that transcended interlocked hands. A bond between my soul and the people of Uganda, a bond between my very essence and the entire continent of Africa. Frankie opened my eyes with the touch of his hand and revealed to me a greater purpose. Small, delicate, pure little fingers wrapped around mine. Waiting for opportunity, waiting for a chance, receiving hope.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Holding Hands.

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The reality of the global south is exquisitely narrated through your words. It is so sad that the burden with carrying a disease is that weighted on women. It is going to be her fault if the disease is contracted by her son. This blame that she is struggling with is what so many women face. She places great emphasis on her history, trying to understand when she became ill with this virus, though she can't even grasp what has happened and is happening.

Beautifully narrated Allysa. AIDS is ravishing most of sub saharan Africa mostly due to lack of information about the disease, lack of access to basic health care. It is a relieve that she did not pass down the disease to her children. They have a chance to live and be whatever they want to be. Thank you for sharing your story.

Peace! Fatima