My name is Lindy and I am 17 years old. I live at Sparrow, a children’s home in Johannesburg. I have lived at Sparrow for six years. I live in a “cluster”, with 11 other girls and our house mother. Sparrow has become my home, and my family. I love cooking – my favorite things to cook are soup and chicken. I also love singing and dancing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get time to myself, so when I want to be alone I go to the chapel and play the piano.
I am in grade 10. My favorite subjects in school are English, history, and life orientation.
My life has not been easy. My mother was HIV-positive, and she died when I was very young. I lived in several foster homes before I came to Sparrow. I have suffered from depression, and last year I spent three months in a mental health hospital called Tara. I am very happy I went there because I am much better now.
When I grow up, I would like to become a lawyer and help children who have been abused. I myself have been emotionally abused, physically abused, and sexually abused. That’s why I want to be a lawyer, because I know what it feels like. But I think that if I could get through that, then a lot of other kids and teenagers like me can get through it.
How did I get through it? I smiled every day. I wouldn’t just let myself down because of what other people did to me. I had to be strong. When things are hard, I think of my mother. And I say to myself: She didn’t make it to where she wanted to be. So let me get to where I want to be, and just carry on.
In my life, I have learned that you should love everyone NOW, because you never know when someone will disappear from your life.
Last year I visited Camp Sizanani for a day with some other people from Sparrow. Phil, the man at Camp Sizanani, told me that I would be able to come next time and be a camper here. Later, when I was invited to come to camp, I was so happy. I was surprised that Phil actually did what he said he would do. He taught me that sometimes you really can trust people. Sometimes you have to trust.
I have had so much fun here at camp. My favorite activities are theatre and life skills. In life skills I learned that when you have a disease, you are no different from any other person. You can still be the person you want to be, even if you have HIV. HIV is not the end. Camp has also taught me that you have to have courage and gumption in your life.