Those were the sincere words exclaimed by a young vibrant 13 year old girl named Adjanie. As she walked in the room you could immediately feel her warmth, her radiant smile shared a story of triumph and hope.
Our meeting was unexpected. Adjanie wasn't on our agenda for that matinee at the hospital, but after our interview with her everything seemed achievable.
She was open and honest about her experience with HIV. She knew all the details of her stay at the inpatient ward at Grace Children's Hospital. "I was hospitalized at Grace through out two periods of time, the first period was from June,11th 2009 to September 3rd 2009- a total of 3 months and 17 days... " With the poise of a lady way beyond her years, Adjanie shared with us her story.
Her thin frame and scarred skin brought to life her sleepless nights, and fatigued body. She had recently experienced a poor reaction to the medication- she had been vomiting for days, felt feverish, her wounds were fresh- her weakened immune system was at a delicate state.. But while yes, her eyes glistened as she spoke- all we could do was sit in awe of this little girl as she recounted her journey with what I always believed to be one of the most horrific illnesses known to man.
Never did she complain, never did she seek pity, never did she speak aimlessly. She spoke confidently, "I live in Delmas 75 with my family , I recently came from school- it was wonderful..." Her words were clear, not muffled- from what I could see she had found her voice. While each day was a constant struggle,s triumph. "... I was ill , but now I am all better" She spoke about her hopes for other children facing the same realities she's had to, and prayed that they had access to the quality health care she had at Grace.
My eyes welled up with tears- when we came toward the end of our session with Adjanie , and asked her how she was.. She boldly stated " I am excellent..."
How could someone, suffering from an incurable virus be excellent? how could someone who was recently hospitalized speak with such sincerity and joy?