Come sit by me
Wachara woke up bright and early. She tiptoed into the big
bedroom, snuggled into bed and whispered to her mother, "Is it a school day or a
"A school day," answered her mother sleepily.
"Hmmph." Wachara crossed her arms and pouted. "I like stay-home
The semester break from school was over. What fun they had had
playing games ... collecting treasures ... staying up late ... visiting with
Grandpa and Grandma.
"But I want to stay home with you!" she said to her Father.
Father answered in the gentlest of ways, "Now Wachara, go and
get ready. You'll be happy to see your friends and maybe there will be new
friends to play with."
So mother went to her work at the health clinic. Father went to
his work at the family shop. Her older brother Nikorn went to his big school and
Wachara got to go to her kindergarten.
It was noisy.
When Chalermchon saw Wachara he yelled "Wachara, Wachara, come
sit by me!"
Maliwan yelled even louder, "Wachara, come sit by me!" Everyone
giggled and wiggled on their bottoms to make room for Wachara in the snack-time
"It's so nice to have you back Wachara. We missed you. "Would
you be the special helper today?" asked Miss Jiraporn, her teacher.
"Yes, please!" her smile got bigger and bigger as she helped
serve oranges to her friends.
She was happy almost all of the day climbing, swinging, painting
and playing pretend.
That day they played doctor.
"My mother's a doctor, so I get to be the doctor," Wachara said.
"I'll be the sick person," Maliwan said.
"I'll be the nurse," added Chalermchon.
Together they rescued Maliwan from a burning house, made her wet
paper casts for her broken legs and gave medicine for Lamduan's fever.
They all got better.
Soonthorn was the new child in their group. He was quiet. He
wasn't rude. He didn't play very much. He minded his manners at lunch.
That night Wachara told Mother about her day. "I had fun
playing. I had a really good nap. Soonthorn isn't my friend yet."
The days got cooler and cooler. Everyone had to wear warm
sweaters or jackets. One day Wachara told her family that Soonthorn was sick and
she missed him.
"He's my best friend now," she said sadly.
"How many days has he been sick?" Mother asked.
"I don't know. A lot," she answered. After many sleeps,
Soonthorn was feeling better and came back to school.
"What's AIDS?" Wachara asked one night at supper.
"AIDS is a sickness. Why do you ask?" asked Father.
"Because Jakkapong said he can't play with Soonthorn anymore
because Soonthorn has AIDS."
"Do you play with Soonthorn?" Nikorn asked.
"Yes, he's my friend," she answered.
"Does he look sick? "her brother asked.
"I don't know." Wachara shrugged her answer and continued to eat
her papaya salad and sticky rice.
Mother sat sown close to Wachara and told her this ...
"When you get sick with a fever, a cough or a runny nose,
thousands of healthy fighter cells in your blood help make you get better."
"But if Soonthorn has AIDS, some of the most important fighter
cells in his blood can't fight anymore. They can't help him get better from his
fever, cough or runny nose like yours do."
Wachara asked, "If I play with him, will I get AIDS?"
"No," answered Mother. "You can play with Soonthorn, eat with
him, nap by him, hug him, and do the things you normally do with all the other
So she did. She was happy. She had no worries. But some of the
parents wouldn't let their children play with Wachara because she played with
When Mother and Father found this out they were extremely upset.
They sent messages to all of the parents and teachers and said, "We need to have
a meeting and talk about AIDS."
They talked and talked late into the night and they learned a
lot about HIV and AIDS.
The next day, the children started to talk about dinosaurs.
They hunted for dinosaur bones around the school and planned to
make dinosaur soup for lunch.
Soonthorn was the last to arrive.
When he saw what they were playing he shouted, "I know a lot
about dinosaurs! You don't have to be afraid of them."
Jakkapong yelled, "Soonthorn, come sit by me!"
Chalermchon yelled even louder, "Soonthorn, come sit by me!!"
But Wachara yelled the loudest of all, "No, Soonthorn, come sit
Everyone giggled and wiggled on their bottoms to make room for
Soonthorn in the snack-time circle.
"Soonthorn, would you like to be the special helper today?"
asked Miss Jiraporn.
"Yes please," said Soonthorn.
And he was.
Many people are worried about getting HIV or AIDS. Most worries
are unnecessary. You cannot get HIV or AIDS by:
Living with someone who has HIV or AIDS.
Sitting next to
Caring for animals.
Having your hair cut.
plates, knives and forks.
Shaking or holding hands.
Sharing a toilet or
Taking a nap next to someone.
Touching clothes or used tissues.
From coughs, sneezes or talking to
Swimming in a pool or lake.
Playing with someone.
Adapted from the story Come Sit By Me by Margaret