the RED badges of courage 022

Joseph and Richard are twins born with acute disabilities related to the AIDS virus carried by their mother during pregnancy. Richard suffers from an abnormal mouth and distended jaw making it difficult to eat and Joseph is severely deaf. Both were tested for the virus and are positive but do not access treatment as the family cannot afford bus fare to go to the clinic. They are forced to wear RED badges sewn on their uniform denoting their AIDS status and tear them off as they despise being labeled ‘The Poor Health Boys’ which invites regular fights. The family live in severe poverty sharing a cell size room. Their mother sleeps on the floor and the twins, with their older brother share the only bed. Uniquely, amidst their abject material poverty, their home, this tiny room is tidy and clean.
Maji Matatu, Tanzania
10th June 2010

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