The Unheard Voice

I am too young yet old enough;
I haven’t yet got my first beard;
I haven’t yet had my first period;
yet I am old enough to face life’s challenges

By now I am meant to be learning 1+1
and a b c d;
but the only A B C D that I have learnt is H I V/A I D S;
I am too young yet old enough;

I am out here in the cold, out in the streets;
out in the parking lot stretching my arms begging for alms;
waiting that at least someone will be generous;

‘Where is your mummy and daddy?’ someone asked me the other day
I had no answer.
They have been at home since I was six;
They are always lying on that tattered sack in our dirt floor house;
‘What’s wrong with mummy and daddy’, I asked my aunt once;
She told me that they are taking a nap;
Since then no one comes to visit us anymore;
They say we aint worth helping;

Is it my fault? Did I do anything to deserve this?
Everyday I wake early and head to the waste bins;
My hope each day is that I will find something little;
for my mummy and daddy;
My hope is that someday things will change;
That mummy and daddy will be able to afford those drugs I have heard that are called A R V’s – This is the only alphabet that I know

I am out by the market today and I can see almost everyone
wearing a red ribbon by their chests
“”It’s Worlds AIDS day,” I overhear some neatly dressed school children passing by me saying to each other;
Oh how I envy them, with their neatly ironed clothes and schoolbags;
I just wonder – do they notice me? do they realize that I am infected?
Do they realize that they too are affected?
Do they really mean it when they wear those ribbons?
I am too young yet too old.

Tomorrow as we mark the World’s AIDS day take time to reflect on this unheard voices.

(Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 11:32pm)

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