Sharing Joy with a Pen Pal

“Writing to her pen pal, and receiving letters in return, is a way for her to ‘pass on’ happy thoughts that she has towards herself and others.”

Through the Let’s Talk About It Sisterhood Pen Pal Program, women are able to reach out to those far away from them and give and receive uplifting, positive messages. Oftentimes, living with HIV can seem overwhelming, negative, and isolating. However, through the interviews I have been conducting with women who are a part of our Pen Pal program, I have been honored to witness some incredibly positive and optimistic moments.

One woman in particular who I spoke with showed me the sheer beauty of having a friend to write to. She was so bright and lovely when we chatted, and very happy to answer my questions with simple statements like, “Well, I just love having a pen pal!” She told me her favorite part of the experience was the simple, fun nature of the relationship. It didn’t add any stress to her life and instead was an uplifting, light thing that kept her upbeat. Her and her pen pal communicate about once a week and they send each other poems, bookmarkers, inspirational quotes, and share pieces of wisdom they may come across throughout the week. “I wrote her this little poem this week,” she told me, “and I just can’t wait to see how much she loves it! I know she’s going to love it.” Writing to her pen pal, and receiving letters in return, is a way for her to “pass on” happy thoughts that she has towards herself and others.

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