Most of Natalie's girls were born HIV positive. Today, thanks to a heavy regime of antiretroviral medications, they are happy, energetic, and reasonably healthy children who have no idea of their condition. At this point, all the girls are expected to live long, full lives and that is great news.
But there is no question that these meds are the girls' lifeline. At first, I was horrified to consider the girls' plight if the Indian government, who I assumed to be covering the costs, were to cut off funding for the girls' ARVs.
Then I learned a mind-blowing truth. The girls' HIV medications are and will always be completely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. My own hometown billionaires are changing the lives of not just nameless faces in faraway places but of these precious children who are scrambling in and out of my lap, putting flowers in my hair, and wearing my shoes around the house.
As a longtime Windows user and Office license holder, the money that I have helped to stuff into Microsoft's pockets is now literally filling the medicine cabinet of these children's home, before my very eyes. Most evenings, I watch as each girl skips to the kitchen for her specially prepared selection of pills and potions. I talk and laugh with each one as she pops up to half dozen pills, rinses each one down with a sip of water from a shared metal tumbler, and then runs off to play as next girl takes her place.
I'm profoundly relieved that these Indian princesses will undoubtedly receive the HIV meds they need for the rest of their lives and I could not be more proud to know that I'm a tiny part of that promise.
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Here is the full story of my trip to Hyderabad, India and my visit with the Indian Princesses: