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Ideas and inspirations, Local and Global
Featured Project: TCE Namibia By Graham Dawson
The Strength To Remain Positive
Originally from Miami, Florida I became a Development Instructor working in Namibia with the TCE project. After leaving school, I became fascinated with working in the field of HIV
Female Condom Demonstration outside a Shabeen (bar) in Okaku, Namibia
Every Field Officer receives training in facts about HIV and in mobilizing their communities against the disease
and helping those in need. This type of work is filled with challenges, confrontations, small triumphs and small failures. It can be very demanding at times but also very rewarding; the following lines are about the challenges I faced working with those who needed to know the basic facts of the disease and the extra push to not give in to HIV. It was one of the most eye opening times of my life and without a doubt, the most positive! Namibia is one of the countries with a growing rate of HIV. Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is roughly the combined size of Texas and Oklahoma, but very sparsely populated (only 2.1 mil). My project, TCE or Total Control of the Epidemic has the goal of reaching every single person with basic information about HIV/AIDS and encouraging them to take the next step: knowing their own status. I believe that if everyone would know more about the disease and where they stand, it could help with destroying it. I fell in love with this idea and this is what would keep me focused later when I was working in the villages. Continued on page 2… Continued from page 1…
In this Issue: TCE Namibia— The Strength to Remain Positive New DA Team Postcard from Child Aid Belize Visit us at: www. Campus-California.org
wants to find out that they have HIV and some people turn to despair or give up hope completely when they find out they are HIV Positive.”
Featured project… continued the same general concerns. The most common questions and the responses we gave were: Can I get HIV from mosquito bite? No. I am not at risk because I am not gay! Actually more straight people are infected with the virus than gay people. Usually an HIV infected person tends to lose weight rapidly. The key word is: “Usually”! The virus can live inside a person’s body for years before they know it. Bottom line is: Get tested!
Workshop on Positive Living. Everyone is TCE Certified!
Working with Positive Living Typically no one wants to find out that they have HIV and many people turn to despair or give up hope completely when they find out they are HIV Positive. This not only affects the individual but also their families and communities. As part of my duties I was delivering hope in the form of information and ideas. By reaching out to rural areas with the concept of ‘Positive Living’, many of those infected could learn to live a healthier and longer life. Positive Living, in the Namibian scenario is primarily adopting the habit of eating well balanced meals, practicing good hygiene, exercising and becoming active. How do you introduce proper Positive Living to people who cannot afford the most basic things? It is a big challenge! For proper nutrition, we established small vegetable gardens and gave access to seeds. In Oshakati, the town where I was working, people planted millet, to-
matoes, onions and Mahangu (a local cereal). These are all good for strengthening the immune system which is mainly what the HIV virus targets in the body. We gave presentations on simple ways to generate income. For example, how to raise chicken to sell the eggs or make bricks from the amounts of sand all around. Positive Living clubs were formed to involve the HIV positive within the communities to meet and talk to each other and later to the open public. It was difficult to find willing volunteers for this because of the stigma that comes with carrying the virus, but we usually found at least a few individuals willing to come out.
Millet, locally known as Mahangu can be used to cook a variety of nutritional meals.
Challenges with Myths and Misconception
In my opinion, the number one challenge we faced were the misconceptions people had about HIV. In most places where we held discussions with local tribes or small communities people had
A Typical village house in Oshifo, Namibia
Page 3 Having HIV does not mean immediate death! Anti retroviral drugs and Positive Living choices have been proven to extend the lives of HIV infected by many years. Can I get HIV from casual social contact? No. So far, we only have evidence that HIV is transmitted through blood, unprotected sex and in some cases breast milk. Holding hands, hugging, kissing or sharing a cup or a spoon will not transmit HIV from one person to another. There is a lot of work to be done worldwide to combat HIV & AIDS; it will take a lot of dedication from many people for a long time to come. However I can absolutely say that whether you are infected or not, Living Positive, with a Positive attitude is something we can do right now!
The outreach campaign touches every household.
A support Group in Okalongo, Namibia
New DA (Development Action) Team Last month we welcomed the new Development Action Team. Jein-Hee, Ji-Eun, Mauricio and So-Young have started on the road that will eventually take them to development projects in Africa and Central America. One of the first outreach tasks was to represent Campus California at the Cinco de Maio celebration and fair in San Francisco. A day was filled with â€œsouth of the borderâ€? food, music and sunshine, but there was still a lot of interest in more serious topics as well.
Campus California was incorporated in 2000 and our main activities currently are:
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The Development Instructor program trains people for projects run by Humana People To People Federation. CCTG offers complete packages for adults who wish to volunteer in various areas of development work in Southern Africa or Central America. The program includes:
We greatly appreciate the support of all the companies, organizations and private donors that have donated space for collection boxes.
To train and place volunteers in development projects abroad (The Development Instructor program) To operate a clothing donation program in the Bay Area to raise funds for the Development Instructor program and to promote the need to care for the environment through reuse and recycling.
Different durations ( 9, 14 or 18 months); food, lodging & program related travel expenses included, Choice of project type (Education – children or adults, HIV/AIDS prevention, Child Aid, Environment – Tree planting, soil conservation, secure water sources or others), Choice of the destination country (Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, or various countries in Central America), Theoretical and practical preparation – In the USA (The San Francisco Bay Area, sister campuses in MI and MA and other locations for different components of the program) Travel arrangements including visas, vaccinations and other necessities when traveling to a third world country Regular contact and support during time in Africa or Central
Postcard from a Child Aid Project in Belize Our Child Aid project is located in Xaibe. We work with 25 families, our effort is connected with children in different ways. We help to start vegetable gardens to improve nutrition and the families are happy for what we do. Now, at the end, almost all of the families have a functioning garden!
Kwang-Sok (on the left) and his teammate Pyl (on the right) with a local family participating in the project...
… and one of their vegetable gardens