Sophia came to us, at Amani Baby Cottage, in the summer of 2005. She was severely
malnourished. Though we desperately sought help for our newest, frail addition, Sophia's
frame became increasingly skeletal; she was not absorbing any nutrition.
My living room became a make-shift ICU. We had some wonderful volunteers on hand,
including a nurse from my home town, and Sophia had round-the clock-attention. It was
touch and go so many times; each of us privately feared she would pass away on our
watch. The staff at International Clinic nearby were amazingly patient. One afternoon, they
worked more than 4 hours trying to insert an IV line into her tiny, fragile veins for
desperately needed rehydration. It was our constant vigil to keep her IVs and NG feeding
tube intact. The pediatrician's recommended yogurt diet seemed to only slightly improve
her incessant diarrhea. Sophia needed a miracle soon.
Then we heard the great news: HIV testing and treatment was now available at our local
government hospital! Thanks to PEPFAR (President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief),
a bold and generous initiative by the U.S., medical training and treatment intervention had
Within 2 weeks of starting ARVs, Sophia began eating and drinking again. Today, she is a
"fat and happy" beautiful young girl. We pray the pharmaceuticals which keep this innocent
victim of AIDS alive will continue to be available for her and millions like her.
On a sad note, Travis (not his real name) arrived about the same time as Sophia, and in
just about the same stage of HIV. After some time with us and much improved, also due to
careful administration of the ARVs (Antiretroviral treatment), Travis returned to the loving
care of his father. Although his dad was following through with Travis' medical care for some
time, he eventually succumbed to the pressures of others in the village who, because of
fear and ignorance, urged him to stop intervening. We attended Travis' funeral a short time
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Sophia is 10 years old
- that's a miracle.