HIV Awareness

An African village has been set up inside the gymnasium of a church in Friendswood. It's part of a traveling exhibit to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in Africa. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports the World Vision Experience gives visitors a chance to follow one child's story about living with AIDS.

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Drum music "Hello my friend, I will be with you on your journey ..." (drum music fades to heart beats)

That journey is following in the footsteps of one child in Africa living with HIV and Aids. The African village replica is put together by World Vision Experience, which is a Christian relief and development organization. Tour Production Manager Joshua Mroczka explains the exhibit follows the stories of four actual children.

"You know when you tell someone a number like 33 million, that's how many people have AIDS. It might as well be one million, it might as well be ten million, there is no way for us to grasp that number. So what we do is break it down to one, one child's story, one life, let it affect you with one person."

The exhibit includes pictures and items from the villages that the children live in to make the experience as authentic as possible.

"When you walk through you're going to see a lot of pictures of what's on the walls, you're going to see what's called vignettes, it's actually stills of, you know, a bedroom or a restaurant that is part of this child's life."

Mroczka says the goal of the exhibit is to inspire more committment from the general public to help in the fight against AIDS.

"We have a program that's between 10 and 16 years. We want to go in there, and we are not there to give a free hand-out. We're there to train up a village. We are there to educate, we are there to bring wells, bring education, but with that we don't actually do any of the work. We have the people of the village do the work, and it's two-fold because not only are they getting the benefit of what they are building, what they are getting trained on but now when we step out, they are not without."

The exhibit began its tour in 2005 and it's stop here is part of an 80 city tour at churches across the country. The World Vision Experience will be at the Friendswood United Methodist Church through Monday. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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