After the show we rock out to the baSotho music. Jamie and Alice have a whole group around them. I single out a boy with a spark in his eye who is bopping his shoulders. He comes right up and dances with me, copying my moves. The other kids watch the two of us. I look down at his waist and suddenly notice how skinny he is. His clothes baggy like they once fit him, now belted and cinched. Notice the bluish purple blotches under his eyes.
Suddenly I am no longer just dancing with a fun loving boy, I am dancing with a 14 year old with AIDS who will die soon. (I don't know his actual status, but it is fairly likely - between 30% and 40% of people in Lesotho are HIV+) The two images of him dance back and forth painfully fast. I am having so much fun with him, see in his eyes that he too is carefree and happy. But wonder when he dies, will this moment, this day with the clowns and his whole school singing, will it be one of his happiest memories? How soon will he die?
While all this goes through my mind, I see in his eyes that he is obvious to all my thinking, wrapped up only in the music and the crazy clown in front of him.
I am relieved when we join the big group in a call and response of "monkey monkey" "awooooogah awoooogah" "eeeeeawww." I cry silently when the children sing for us. All of the older kids from the school are in the chorus. They are beautiful, they are together, they march up the hill while they sing their last song and wave at us.
As we drive off I lean over Jamie and Alice in the backseat trying to wave at that one boy, ignoring all the other kids on my side of the car. but I don't think he quite sees me wave goodbye.