Sunday, December 4, 2011

World AIDS Day

by Thomas Bwire

Kibera was not left out in joining the entire world in celebrating the World AIDS Day.  In different parts of the community, one could easily see white mounted tents, that acted as temporary centers for voluntary counseling famously known as VCT.

In Kibera the main celebration, an event aimed at creating awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education, was held at the DC grounds. World AIDS Day is important for reminding people that HIV has not gone away and that there are many things still to be done.

At the Uweza Center, the youngsters too were not left behind as they dedicated this day in passing the message to their fellow age mates using a small drama that used “sheng” language which is a mixture of Kiswahili and English words combined.

Their story had a family set-up that involved a father, mother, their only son and a house help who assisted in house chores. Behind the scenes, the house help had slept with the father and the son on different occasions. After many months had passed, the father and the son became sick and the house help's secret was exposed when a neighbor she used to work for had come to pay a visit to the host family.  The neighbor exposed that the house help had the HIV virus when she used to work for her

Part of the skit went like this:

Neighbor: This house help is suffering from HIV, you guys didn’t know that she is positive?
Father/Son: (Looks surprised and astonished, as they both shake their heads sideways)
Son: Oooh my God I slept with her and I thought all was fine.
Father: What? You have slept with the house help??? Me too.
Househelp: I'm sorry, I feared to tell you for fear of rejection and being stigmatized.
Father/Son: We are all infected with the HIV viruses, God help us (they fall slowly to the ground as they weep).
At that point, a counselor walks into their home and tries to console the father and the son that having slept with their house help should not be the end of the world.  She advised them that they need to visit a VCT center to get more information and if they agree, to get tested to know their status.
Once at the VCT center, they agree to be tested after having been counseled and vow to change their bad ways.

It was a story that gave a significant group at the center the opportunity to pass a message to each other with a hope to change and help educate their peers.

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