This week the Word Vision AIDS Experience exhibit has been in Nashville – at the Otter Creek Church of Christ in Brentwood. I have heard about this traveling exhibit for years, but have never been able to go to it myself. When I heard it would be right around the corner from our church, I got excited. I was glad to be able to help promote it at my work and at my church. It has been fun.
And on Monday night, we were able to gather a group from our Bible studies, as well as some other friends, to go experience it for ourselves.
It’s quite impressive. It’s a 2500 square foot exhibit that they set up to look like an African village. When you enter, you are given a headset and you are led through a path that follows the life of one of four children. These are real children in Africa, with real struggles. Each of them has been directly affected by AIDS, losing one or both parents, becoming infected themselves, struggling to survive and searching for hope. It is incredibly impactful. You are led through areas that look like their homes and you are directed to sit down in them while you are told about their lives. You visit a medical clinic where you have to wait on the results to find out if you are HIV positive or not. There are real images of them on the walls, along with staggering facts and figures about the effect of the AIDS crisis in their particular country and village.
One person dies because of AIDS every 15 seconds.
On Monday night, I followed the story of Babirye and her twin. They lost their father to AIDS and almost lost their mother, but she survived and become one of the first World Vision caregivers in their village. On Friday morning I organized a trip for my marketing group at work to go together. I was then able to follow the story of Emmanuel. His is definitely a heart-breaking story (losing both parents to AIDS and being taken care of by his 9-year old brother, for 2 years on their own until a World Vision worker finds them), but it definitely has a hopeful ending.
I highly recommend going and experiencing this exhibit for yourself. It is powerful. Tickets are free and it only takes about 30 minutes to go through. You may not be able to travel to Africa, but World Vision has made it possible to bring Africa to you, if only to get a glimpse of what children there are struggling with. It is very eye-opening and it makes it personal. They do a great job.
To see the video trailers for the exhibit, go here.
To check out the website to see if there is an upcoming week in your area see http://www.worldvisionexperience.com. And if you’re in Nashville, it’s still here today and tomorrow. Please go check it out.