Friday, November 5, 2010

This cute little guy is Prosper. We saw him at his home Thursday on hut calls. He is 6 and an orphan living with his grandma. He has HIV but is doing well; in fact they had to chase him down at the beach to bring him home to see us. Unfortunately both his ears were badly infected so everytime we made him laugh he winced in pain. Though the economy seems to have picked up in Samfya, health issues are still very bad. Teen-agers and young adults still have a very lax attitude about sex even though awareness is up, and they fear even getting tested because of the stigma that could bring, but one out of every 7-8 of them will be HIV positive. There is still a long way to go but we had a great meeting with the pastors and church leaders of the NGO we work with. It taught them more about HIV and encouraged them to lead their community to raise awareness, decrease stigma, step out and even get tested themselves, reduce misconceptions about HIV - one pastor thought a person with HIV is when the ends of their hairs start turning white - boy I'm in trouble then! They spent an hour asking great questions, like is HIV a curse from God - we encouraged them to treat the disease different from behaviors, not to judge because not everyone who got HIV got it from sinful behavior, and to care for them as Jesus cared for the sick. Pray that they use this information to change their communities.

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