Monday, October 1, 2007


We’re here in kalisizo in the region of rakai in a small town called matale. the land is gorgeous around here lush with banana trees and green rolling hills and valleys. This region has the highest prevalence of aids anywhere on the continent of Africa. I asked a leader of a cbo (community based organization) why he thought the rate of aids was so high and he said it was a combination of a few things…
1)there’s a lake for fishing which creates more income to spend on prostitution
2)rakai is right by the border so there are a lot of truck drivers passing thru
3)aids has been around for so long and it’s so common so people are accustomed to it (the very first case of aids was found in this region)
4)people still believe that its witchcraft or an omen brought on by bad deeds
5)the educational meetings around reproductive health and prevention are attended by men only because of the gender issues

and there are thousands and thousands of child head of households because both of the parents have died from aids. these kids are called double orphans.

It’s so hard to fathom statistics like these… and to spend time with the amazing community at St. Andrews that has been thru so much. St, Andrews is a church/school/boarding house and we spent 3 days with them. A friend of mine from Portland named Thomas is from here. Also, Julie Resnick who did an incredible photo-voice project called "zoom Uganda" worked with a few students in this school. I have the zoom Uganda calendar up in my kitchen and have their faces/stories memorized so I’m excited to meet them in person!

Its really quiet and peaceful here. I’m off to go play some music with a young man who goes to school here and hopes to make a living being a musician. he's written a bunch of gospel tunes about aids and i can't wait to hear them! we're meeting in a couple minutes on the back steps of the church.

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