Where to even begin. Megan and I left around 7:30 AM and drove to Fanny's to meet up with everyone. On the way, I was still mentally preparing myself, forming the usual sheild of "Belke strength". When we got there we had to wait a bit for the bus and it was getting nervewracking... there was just a nervous and unsure air about the kids. Only one, Geofrey, did not come (he is brand new to the program and was very hesitant as he doesn't really know anyone or how we operate quite yet). Even Mrs. Tembo came along to support her kids.
We already knew that Wisdom and Memory were HIV positive. I was not there when they went to the clinic and found out, (it was before i moved here) and I have heard from both Megan and Fanny how difficult and emotional that was- and I was very nervous.
When we got there (the receptionist is a member of my church I didn't even know she worked there!) they had everything pretty well ready for us and they did a great job interacting with the kids, who were OBVIOUSLY nervous, and getting things done quickly and efficiently for us. We had them come in one at a time and they had a finger prick of blood taken and then they were sent back to the waiting room. After the last of them (22 total, because Geofrey was missing but 2 of Maureen's kids came) was tested we all sat in the waiting room for less than ten minutes and then they called us back for the results. Only Megan and I went back and I was starting to get a lump in my throat already. The man had the result paper in his hand and I was quickly scanning it trying to figure out what the 0's and 3's meant when he said OK... we need to see Memory and Wisdom for retesting, they are the ones who had a positive result. Megan litterally said "are you sure?" and he was like.... yea... she said "that's all, I mean... they are all negative?"
Every one of them was negative. Statistically- that's a miracle. One in four Zambians is HIV+, and yet we had 20 all negative....
Keep in mind that these are children who: most of them at least one parent died from or is living with HIV, and they are more vulnerable to the disease due to their heredity, family life, surroundings, upbringing.... so many factors. God.... our God is a God who answers prayer.
Afterwards we brought them all back home for pizza and cookies as well as games outside, a devotional led by Pr. Pizzino, swimming and a movie. It was honestly a day full of blessings and joy- and the kids left here with full bellies and HUGE smiles on their faces... what a day full of positive memories for each of them to have. Wisdom did seem dissapointed that his results had not "changed" but he has been a 'man' about it and has been mature beyond his years. It was great to watch him laugh and run around with the other kids having a great time. I can honestly say he left here a very happy boy despite God's plan of having him suffer from this disease. Memory is not old enough to understand what it means that she is HIV+, so she had fun regardless (she is one of our more shy girls so it took her some time but she finally opened up and played with the other girls).
It is a big and beautiful family we have, and I am proud to be a mother to each and every last one of them. God is so good to us. He has saved them all physically through the prayers of His people. Now please let's pray that he heals them each Spiritually- even all in one day. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.