Sunday, December 26, 2010
A few months ago, Charlene and I went to an outdoor Fire Festival in Taipei. There were many dancers and performers doing fire dances, but there was also a group soliciting donations called Harmony Home. It is kind of an orphanage for children born with HIV, and has been around in Taiwan for over 20 years. We donated some money but I really felt like I "wanted to do something". It's one thing to screw up your life, but to be born into this world without doing anything wrong and have a strike against you is pretty fucked up. Up until this previous week I was too busy with classes to find time to volunteer, so finally this week we were able to go visit Harmony Home.
I had sent them an application and my resume, and they invited us to their Christmas Party, and also mentioned about me bringing my guitar. Charlene went to buy some presents and I prepared some Christmas songs to sing and play. When we arrived, it was an amazing sight, many, many, many people showed up to the party. Actually quite a few Santa Clauses showed up as well bringing gifts. All of the children were extremely friendly and happy, there are roughly 40 children that live at this branch of the Harmony Home shelters. Eventually there was a small lull in time between opening presents, dancing and food, so I got my guitar out and sang some classic Christmas songs in English. They might not know all of the words, but certainly know the melodies. It was a really great time and I'm looking forward to going back to help out next week. I'll be bringing my guitar again. It is funny, the kids have more fun strumming and banging on the guitar than listening to or singing songs.
Some amazing news that we found out was that over 99% of the babies that are born HIV positive actually "defeat the disease" after two to three years. Something about the antibodies from the mother helps prepare the baby to fight off the illness once they are born. I'm not 100% on the particulars, but it is something like that. Whatever it is, it's really great news.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!