WAKE UP WORLD!!! it’s AIDS day….

In Tanzania we developed an HIV/AIDS campaign entitled “Kuamka” –WAKE UP! – a challenge to parents & children for open dialogue before it’s too late.  Unfortunately for over 28 million victims of HIV/AIDS, it IS too late, but today the world recognizes their deaths & raises awareness to prevent more.

Before moving to Africa in 2002, I thought I knew about HIV/AIDS.  In the early 1990’s while helping a group of Ugandan women in Washington, DC set up a local chapter of UWESO (the Ugandan Women’s Effort to Save the Orphans), I heard how HIV/AIDS was wiping out whole villages of adults, leaving children as orphans. I read Dominique Lapierre’s “Beyond Love” to learn more (still a great book, by the way, after you read his “City of Joy.”)  I cried my way around the AIDS quilt on the Mall in DC & learned about VCT (Volunteer Counseling & Testing.)  During international orientation in1992 with 8 other ladies (mostly seasoned medicals headed to Africa), we had a whole briefing on HIV/AIDS (an HIV/AIDS kit was included in our ‘must-take-with-you’ piles.)  Later during a globetrotting position developing a huge safe water initiative for 14 countries, I zoomed around Africa several times (finally visiting Uganda after so many years praying for folks there!) & saw the challenges of HIV/AIDS from a closer distance.

But NOTHING prepared me for the devastating toll of HIV/AIDS until I lived in Africa: mothers – fathers – sisters – brothers – daughters – sons – friends – colleagues – pastors – priests – teachers – doctors – nurses – politicians – the rich – the poor – CHILDREN … dead, sick, dying – soon to be dead.

So many victims…many brave enough to go through testing often cast out of their families & communities, sick mothers struggling to look after children, children left to care for smaller children…

So much ignorance…communities not understanding, judgmental faith-based-groups offering condemnation vs. open hearts of God’s love for ALL (especially the suffering!)

So much fear…fueling prejudice, apathy, blame, injustice & stigmatization…

…and so much HOPE… from courageous beacons across the spectrum, willing to speak out, help out, step out to educate & eradicate this disease…tireless hearts busy with healing & BEING love in action.

In Tanzania, the government set up TACAIDS to coordinate efforts with ALL government ministries (not just the Ministry of Health), Parliament & civil society … & they put a Military GENERAL in charge. Seriously serious (!) – this fight IS a war, not just against a virus, but against attitudes, prejudice & behavior that needs changing.

Starting with MINE.  It’s not ‘us’ and ‘them’ – the victims of HIV/AIDS, however they contracted the disease.  That could be ME – but for the grace of God go I…

This is OUR challenge… not just on World AIDS Day, but EVERYDAY of the year EVERYWHERE in this world…

grace, peace & global hearts (hurting for all!)

Virginia

p.s.  if you would like a good book to better understand this issue, check out journalist Stephanie Nolen’s “28 stories of AIDS in Africa” – an outstanding overview profiling 28 victims from all strata of society across Africa.  It’s the book I wanted to write upon coming home, but she did it first (& SO VERY INCREDIBLY WELL!!!)

http://28stories.com

HIV/AIDS awareness performances (Kigoma, TANZANIA)

This entry was posted in Advocacy Issues, Bookshelf (BOOKS) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to WAKE UP WORLD!!! it’s AIDS day….

  1. Cindy Kranich says:

    Ginny,
    Thanks for raising my awareness on a disease that is so misunderstood … I look forward to borrowing some of your books highlighted here. –cin

  2. Pingback: DECEMBER 1st : WORLD AIDS DAY…(wake up World!) | Roses in the Rubble

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