Visitors experienced the life of a child living with AIDS in Africa at an interactive walkthrough exhibit on Monday, Nov. 5. The AIDS Experience Tent, which was set up at UC Irvine in Parking Lot 16, welcomed participants from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday before closing Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
The event was organized by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in collaboration with World Vision, an off-campus Christian relief and development organization.
Due to the interactive nature of the event, each time an individual enters, the tent can lead to a new experience. Second-year Weley Lai, a criminology, law and society major, has gone through the tent on four separate occasions and recalled his first experience.
‘The first time I went through it, I got to step into the life of Stephen, a young boy from Uganda who was kidnapped by a resistance army and forced to kill for them,’ Lai said.
Lai went onto mention his feelings when HIV/AIDS entered into the equation.
‘It never occurred to me that Stephen had been exposed to HIV/AIDS and was at risk of contracting the virus. It opened my eyes to the horrors of HIV/AIDS and issues around the world that I had never really thought about before,’ Lai said.
According to Megan Ibarra, a fourth-year drama and sociology double major, who volunteered at the tent, the subtitle of the event, ‘Impact One,’ helped to illustrate a specific topic.
‘What I like most about the AIDS tent is that it’s called Impact One It really takes the AIDS crisis from being this overwhelming problem and list of statistics to the life of one person, one child, one story,’ Ibarra said.
Joshua Arnaldo, a fourth-year information and computer science and philosophy double major at UCI, worked as an event planner for the tent.
‘I feel that going to the AIDS Experience Tent gives participants more than just statistics, but actually puts names and faces to things that are going on around the world. Living in Irvine, it’s kind of easy to