Another 2 weeks have passed – we’ve been really busy and have achieved so much. We met a lovely couple who are both HIV positive, set up our first workshop and we experienced some cultural things. It’s been an interesting, busy two weeks but extremely rewarding.

One of our highlights from the last two weeks was our first workshop with the male counsellor of San Maringa Clinic. Altogether we had 40 youths, both male and females, who gained a better understanding of HIV transmission, prevention and the means of support and advice available no matter what the results might be. It was also very beneficial for us as it gave us an insight into how much the youths know about HIV.  Fortunately they did understand at least the basics and we found that three of them had been tested, and by the end we saw that the workshop made quite a lot of them think of getting tested.

Another highlight of the weeks came from an inspiring HIV positive couple, Mr and Mrs Rufaro Mandiringana. (The picture shows us with Mr Rufaro, front centre, outside their house.) They were diagnosed over 10 years ago but despite this they work really hard, working with local support groups, assisting people who need to get to the clinics for medications, helping with farming and chicken projects and also encouraging other people to get tested.

Rufaro mentioned that despite being HIV-positive for 10 years he hasn’t felt discriminated against in the community as now more people are aware and are starting to understand HIV much more. We took a lot from the visit and we were invited to help him with some of his projects, from building better infrastructure for his pigs, goats, to teaching us how to weed and cultivate bean fields.

bean field

The past four weeks have been a learning curve for all of us, we have met some amazing people and we have been taught so much, and we have now developed a good relationship within the community. We can’t wait to get started working with the school, support groups, and youth groups to really make a difference in the communities’ lives and really make the most of the next few weeks.

Blog by Progressio ICS volunteer Tara Craig.