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One Life Experience

October 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Cross post from inside IBM.

Sunday morning my husband and I participated in World Vision’s One Life Experience at the Calgary Women’s Show. IBM provided the kiosks (used at the end of the tour for feedback) so Calgary IBMers had the opportunity to go through the experience before the show opened on Sunday.

The One Life Experience lets you… Step into the life of one of four children living in Africa and gain a new perspective on one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time: HIV and AIDS.”

Each participant is given an ipod with a different child’s story, which is narrated by Helene, but also presented from the child’s perspective. Olivia’s experience of contracting HIV after being raped and then passing it to her daughter was horrific and terrifying.

I was excited to attend this event for two reasons – curiosity and interest in the subject… but also because I’m focused on learning professionally – the use of story, personal experience, shock, fear, horror, hope, and success all contributed to making this an amazing learning experience. I was immediately engaged.

  • I was put into the situation the child physically – the tour is a 2000 square foot replica of the environment these children lived in
  • I was immersed in the experience – at one point I was asked to sit in the health clinic (as Olivia, the child I was following) to wait for my HIV results. I received the results from the nurse and then listened to Olivia describe how she felt, the stigma of having HIV in Malawi, and how she’d treated others with HIV in the past. I felt sick to my stomach.
  • I was asked to reflect – at the end of the tour I had the opportunity to pass along my thoughts and ideas of the tour. it was part feedback and part reaction to the exhibit.

I was wowed. And horrified. And inspired.

There are five touring One Life Experience exhibits in the US and one that tours Canada (schedule). If you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.