Saturday, January 26, 2013

World Aids Day 2012

On December 3rd, 2012 my villagers and I held an event in the village, in recognition of World Aids Day; I put up pictures on Facebook, but haven't had an opportunity to write about it until now.  It was definitely a highlight of my service thus far, and it was really nice to see everyone come together for it.  I was most proud of my students in The Bright Star (my health club) who not only organized a skit, but wrote and performed a song, to teach about HIV.

The day started around 9 am, with an opening speech given by myself, the village leaders, and the nurses who came from Singida District to test.  We then opened two classrooms at the primary school for testing, and were able to do so until 4 pm.  The plan was to test until lunch, but due to such a large turn out, the testers were willing to continue testing for the entire day.  We were able to test over 200 villagers, who otherwise wouldn't have been tested (as no one likes to use the health clinic, due to lack of confidentiality, and tests.)  I also got tested, and my students followed suit!! (All 20 of them, I was so happy :)

After lunch, my students performed their skit and song. The skit taught about the consequences of having multiple partners, having sex without a condom, and early pregnancy.  The amount of people who came to watch was surprising, and motivating too.  After the students' performance, a person living with HIV gave his testimony, reassuring people that life does not end if you are HIV positive.

(While you'd think health/sex education is culturally taboo (because no one talks about it!), I think this entire time they just needed someone to initiate it; someone to facilitate discussion, and wasn't afraid to do so.  I think as a result of World Aids Day, people are more open and willing to talk about these issues, and I feel the students and my committee have the skills and knowledge to do another event.)

We ended the day with a basketball game between the teachers and students, a soccer game between our neighboring village, and a video that night.  An organization called PSI came and set up a projector on the soccer field, showing two videos about HIV, and using condoms.  I could not have asked for a better turn out, and was really happy we were able to pull off such an event.  It was definitely something me nor my villagers will forget!

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