An hour before the game starts, the kids want to paint, so we unroll the drawing paper and bring out the buckets. It's a cold night in the midveld of Swaziland, and Bafana Bafana, the South African national team, is about to play an overdog Uruguay squad in the World Cup.
On the map, the kingdoms of Swaziland and nearby Lesotho look like teardrops, tiny nations landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique. Nearly 25 percent of adults in Swaziland are HIV positive, which means the orphanages are full. Today, the kids and I are doing an art project.
The only colors we need are black, green, blue, and yellow because the kids want to paint the South African flag. They like the South African flag because the horizontal Y is easier to paint than the spears and shield of the Swazi flag. While they paint, the kids listen to South Africa's East Coast Radio and sing the 1990s songs I grew up on, like "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Wonderwall."
By the time we move to the main house, the TV is on and the Uruguayan national anthem is being sung. The kids have created four South African flags and spilled a puddle of black paint on the floor. The homesteads where they live are located off a dirt road 12 kilometers from the South African border. Before going inside, the kids kick around a homemade soccer ball made of dozens of plastic bags wrapped into a dense sphere.
The man who owns this house is addressed by all with the respectful title Umkhulu, which means "Grandfather." He is HIV positive, as are all the adults on the homestead. This remote area of Swaziland has the highest prevalence in the country. None of the children here are positive, but one of their six-year-old sisters is. She was negative at age four, so it is clear she is being sexually abused. Nobody on the homestead will reveal who the culprit is.