This week we have Amanda Gavan, a dancer from New York here. She is teaching two classes a day to our girls and some children from another home. The classes are two and half hours and are held at a theater that has allowed us to use their space. We have 10 girls that are 11-15 in the morning and 12 kids that are 6-10 in the afternoon. Though it has been quite hot here, the children are practicing very hard and getting better every day. We only have one more practice after today because World AIDS Day, December 1st is Tuesday. They will be presenting in the main plaza in Cochabamba as part of the Feria for the celebration of the day.
Ninos con Valor is one of the leading groups working on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS in Bolivia and the only group representing children with the disease. All of our kids will be attending the event, whether dancing or not as we try to spread the message that this is not just an adult issue. We are sharing the knowledge that children are affected by the disease and have the opportunity to live long and healthy lives with the medications available today. Though the prevalence rate in Bolivia is very low compared to Africa and Southeast Asian countries, the problem is growing. In the past three years the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has doubled every year and is still a condition with a strong stigma. We are trying to get the word out that people should be accepted and integrated and are able to live full lives. And we are doing so for children especially, because no one else is doing it.
These dances are a great opportunity for our children to learn a new form of expression. The modern routines they will be performing are quite different than their tradition Bolivian dances that they usually do, so it has been a great experience. Also, working with children from other homes has been great for the girls as well. Making new friends, learning new movements, and working together is proving to be a growing experience. Seeing their change throughout the week has been so fun, and we thank Amanda for this incredible opportunity. Her energy and creativity has inspired the girls to work very hard. She has been so wonderful with the girls and her patience and ability to adapt and make this work has truly been a blessing. Thank you Amanda!
We’ll let you all know how the performance goes Tuesday, keep us in your thoughts!