It’s a milestone like no other: your child’s first day of school.
It’s a dream most moms and dads around the world have for their children – that one day, they’ll watch their little ones head off to school. But not for me. It’s something I never even dreamed of because my first-born child died one week before her first day of school. I lost all three of my children to AIDS before treatment was available in my home country of Zambia.
That was then, and this is now. Today, I’m a proud mom to my daughter Lubona – born HIV-free in 2012. She brings so much joy and happiness into my life. Seeing her going to school in her tiny little uniform every morning makes me want to continue sleeping so that I don’t wake up from this beautiful dream… but it’s not a dream. It is real. She is alive, she is healthy, and she is HIV-free.
Every day she comes home from school and teaches me something new. The other day she came home and said to me, “let’s go outside and play hopscotch!” WHAT? I had no idea what she was talking about, but then she showed me how.
I am the student; she is my teacher. She’s the most important teacher I’ve ever had in my life.
Every day she brings new lessons into my life. I’m learning more than ever before, even when I was in school. One thing I love about her is that she is a quick learner. She never forgets what the teacher tells her. She has even learned to write her name (although she only goes halfway with her surname because she claims that it is too long. She writes Mwachi instead of Mwanachilenga. No amount of persuasion will make her go beyond that!) She can also write 1 through to 50 without my help. I want her to reach 100 before the term ends, and I know she can.
She the top student in her class and has not swayed away from her dream: to be a doctor. She’s tired of treating her dolls, she tells me. She wants to treat real people now.
What do I dream for my daughter? That she continues working hard at school so that one day, she will see her dream come true.