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close this bookAlternative Techniques - For Teaching about HIV/AIDS in the Classroom (Peace Corps, 1996, 205 p.)
close this folderStories
View the documentCome sit by me
View the documentChildren and the AIDS virus
View the documentChildren and the AIDS virus (Supplement for older students)
View the documentThe story of four friends

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 stayhome day?

"A school day," answered her mother sleepily.

"Hmmph." Wachara crossed her arms and pouted. "I like stay-home days better".

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 circle.

"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 children."

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 Soonthorn.

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."

Everyone came.

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 by me!!!"

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 someone.
Caring for animals.
Having your hair cut.
Sharing cups, plates, knives and forks.
Shaking or holding hands.
Sharing a toilet or bathroom.
Mosquito bites.
Taking a nap next to someone.
Sharing toys.
Touching clothes or used tissues.
From coughs, sneezes or talking to someone.
Swimming in a pool or lake.
Playing with someone.
Eating and drinking.
Hugging someone.

Adapted from the story Come Sit By Me by Margaret Merrifield.