In 2010, I filmed a documentary about the lives of AIDS orphans in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city. In a muddy alley, the guide took us through rows of muddy huts. Stop in front of the faded green door and knock on the door.
A handsome, lean, short-cut teenager walked into my sight. He looked at us cautiously and said in a local dialect: “Carib (welcome).” He led us into the low house. Clay walls, paper-filled windows, in addition to a kerosene lamp and a few books, a small wooden table and several chairs occupy most of the interior.
The boy is Kevin, 12 years old. His father died five years ago. He lived alone after his mother died two years ago. In Kenya, there are more than 1 million AIDS orphans like Kevin, and there are 15 million AIDS orphans worldwide.
Knowing that Kevin sneaked into a nearby bishop’s school every day, this special orphan caught our attention. Kevin told us: “Going to school can make me forget the past. I will be a doctor one day.”
Kevin can only speak as a local dialect. In addition to slipping into the school, other times in the market to sell roasted peanuts to make a living. He used the meager income he earned to buy tomatoes and vegetables, put them on the kerosene stove and do it for a week. When he is lonely, he will look at a small stack of photos of his mother’s life, or lie in his humble cottage and recall the story that the mother once said. Kevin said, the voice is getting smaller and smaller, and we imagine life under that challenge. Although he bowed his head, he politely answered each of our questions. He reiterated his desire to be a doctor: “I don’t want other people to die of AIDS like my mother.” The voice is almost inaudible. We were moved by Kevin’s determination to go to school and decided to follow up on his story. In a local clinic, I invited Kevin to be a doctor for a day, give him a white coat and a stethoscope, and shoot him to a cameraman for a medical examination. Kevin, who rarely laughs, laughed that day.
When we left Kesu, we knew about this quiet little boy. For him to handle the school’s tuition and fees, I promised him to keep in touch with him. In the evening, we embraced the farewell, and my eyes followed his lonely young figure until it disappeared at the end of the road.
In the next few months, I completed the planned documentary and looked at Kevin in the film. I felt his deep loneliness again and his determination to find a way out for himself.
With the help of some institutions, I met with Kevin again in 2004. Kevin was in the junior high school at Kisumu Men’s High School. He is taller and looks good. Seeing this brave boy, I was so excited that I was a little surprised. “I am much better, the school and friends make me very happy.” He reported. He no longer has to worry about filling his stomach and can concentrate on his studies. “I still want to be a doctor,” he said. Around him, he can see the pain of AIDS everywhere. I was once again touched by his persistence and passion.
After returning to China, I have been in constant contact with Kai letter. In a regular call, Kevin, who is 16 years old, told me that he wants to ask Kenyan officials about AIDS and wants to go to the capital. I agree.
A few weeks later, we met again and they were closer to each other than before. Kevin has learned to communicate in English and is more confident. For the first time in his life, he was going to Nairobi, the capital. He couldn’t hide his excitement and his face often smiled. Not long after the year f was opened, Kevin began to get motion sickness. He had not been in this car for so long, and we had to park and rest at Lake Nakuru. Thousands of flamingos and sun-routing rhinos gather around the lake, and hundreds of I gazelles flee in the distance as we approach. Kevin knows that few people in the slum can see the wonders of the world and stand for a long time at the lake without saying a word.
When he arrived in Nairobi, he was constantly amazed at the crowds and skyscrapers. After a while, Kevin disappeared. I have been looking for a long time on the street. Suddenly, he walked slowly out of the crowd. I am like a worried parent, and he warned him not to leave me. He laughed, and he liked others to tell him what to do.
This day is Kevin’s first time wearing a suit. He is going to meet with Kenya’s Vice President Dr. Moody Avori. Sitting in the luxurious leather chair of the vice president’s office, the young man in a black suit began to ask: “What specific plans does the government have for more than 1 million AIDS orphans in Kenya?” Vice President Awori answered him politely. I can see that Kevin is a little nervous, but also very confident. On the last night in Nairobi, I needed him to sign a document. I explained to him that the document was to ensure that if something happened to me, someone would still support him.
”You have to leave me,” he said, his voice trembled, and I realized that Kevin was afraid that I would “abandon” him, like his dead parents. He said that even though I live far and far, I am both a mother and a father in his heart. My heart is like a knife, we have been talking about his tears dry. I was once again so vulnerable by him, but it was so strong.
There is a saying in Africa that raising a child requires the help of the whole village. Putting Kevin in the body is for him to go to college to help the world. Although Kevin has achieved an average B+ score, it is not possible to enter a Kenyan university. The local university is only for the elite.
Fortunately, Kevin was very lucky and he was able to attend the AIDS conference in Sydney with funding from the University of New South Wales, Australia. After the meeting, he visited a number of high schools in Melbourne with a number of AIDS orphans to tell their experiences. During this time, he met Steven Weslin, head of the Department of Medical Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. Steven is kindly talking to Kevin. Although shy, Kevin sincerely expressed his desire to be a doctor. “I am determined to give everything for this,” he said.
The next day, Kevin appeared in a morning TV show. A pair of Sydney couples were very moved after seeing and decided to lend a helping hand to Kevin. In this way, Kevin was admitted to Monash University. If he successfully gets his undergraduate degree, he can enter the medical school for further study. Monash University commented on him: “Helping someone who has crossed many obstacles is an opportunity for us, and most people have no chance to cross.”
After Kevin returned to Kenya, the elections in the country led to bloodshed, and Kisumu was the center of the riots. Kevin’s sponsor in Kenya sent him to Nairobi during the riots. He took an English exam and conducted a medical exam, but the result was 8 brushes, which meant he would miss a full year of college courses. Monash University stepped forward and hired a senior immigration consultant. On February 23, 2008, the tall, 20-year-old African boy appeared at Melbourne Airport.
As Kevin’s current dean, Wei Silin said: “Kevin’s experience tells us everything that happened in Africa. It’s very inspiring to attract people like him. Kevin has no reason not to be a doctor. He has Passion and determination.”
The boy who was preparing for the first week of food when I first saw it, has grown into a big man, and has traveled thousands of kilometers, relying on the help of many kind people, and relying on his own strength. Struggle with.