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Peterson

 
I wasn’t sure what to post after my 30 Favorite images of all time. I mean, that’s kind of a hard act to follow, you know? So, I decided to share one of my favorite people.

When I met Ryan Keith of Forgotten Voices International, he told me the story of a boy named Peterson. Peterson was born with HIV. When Ryan met him, Peterson was a 7 year-old boy living with his mother and his 4 year-old sister, Prudence in a rural area of Zimbabwe. The very same day Ryan met them, Peterson’s mother died from AIDS. Before she died, she asked Ryan to promise to take care of her children – and he did. And that is basically how Forgotten Voices was formed – from a promise. The story continued as Peterson was left to live alone with and take care of Prudence, who was also born with HIV. Prudence had never learned to walk or talk and was basically given up on by her community. But Peterson took care of her – he carried her on his back to school and to physically therapy at the mission hospital nearby. She began walking, and talking, and was even given the job of chasing the monkeys away from the garden. But, one year after their mother died, Prudence died as well. And then Peterson lived alone…

It was after hearing this story that I knew I needed to go to Zimbabwe. And the entire time we prepared to go, I just kept looking forward to the day I would get to meet Peterson too. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew this was a kid I needed to meet.

When we arrived at Peterson’s home, he was a bit shy to meet all of us.


We were thrilled to find that Peterson was no longer living on his family’s homestead alone. His aunt had moved in to care for him, and had hired a farm-hand to help out and take over the chores that Peterson had done. And in January he was supposed to move to his Grandparents’ farm to live with them and the rest of his extended family. What a blessing that his family has been able to step up and take care of him!


We were all surprised and thrilled to watch Peterson running and playing with his friends. He seems to be in great health and having so much help around has freed him up to just be a kid and enjoy life. What an incredible blessing!


He loved Adam’s video camera


and turned out to be quite the videographer himself…


As excited as I was to see Peterson happy & healthy, no one was more glad than Ryan. Peterson & Ryan have spent many days in Zimbabwe together and though they don’t speak the same language, or live lives that are remotely similar, they are good friends.


Peterson & Ryan showed us to the place on the property where Prudence and their mother was buried. He is such a brave little boy.


I am so blessed to have met Peterson. I hope that I will meet him again someday, and I pray that he would stay healthy and get to keep being a kid for as long as possible!

I’ll leave you with the many faces of Peterson…




Comments
 
Jessica P says:

wow, God has given Peterson more than an extra measure of living grace… our lives are so different.

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