06 October 2010

passing on protection

I'm super busy these past few days, in addition to everything else, I've been creating photo books from our dear friend's wedding and from our own trip to Namibia. I'd totally forgotten about some of those images! Being on the road and having files split up between two computers and various flash drives... and then coming back and jumping into life here again with both feet, I realized I hadn't even looked at some of them. Can you believe that? So, I've been playing in Lightroom and trying to apply some of the things I'm learning in David duChemin's book "Vision and Voice" . Sharon sent me that book along with some Pamela's cookies and I have been sneaking away into little pockets of heaven whenever I can get away.

But I'm going to show you a bit from last week's wanderings through one of the formalized settlements with an Oasis team. It was interesting as we wandered the streets together, handing out condoms and literature... one of the guys said to me "you know, people are so tired of hearing about HIV - if you start to talk about it, they glaze over. They've heard it so many times. They are bored with it." This is amazing to me, especially considering that the statistics are staggering - specifically in communities like these. In 2008 the numbers in Gauteng (our province) say that 1:5 adults are estimated to be HIV positive with 103,000 newly diagnosed cases that year- bringing the total just in our province to 1,446,000. Nearly 1.5 million. The majority of these cases are not in the wealthy suburbs, so the numbers inside settlements and rural communities are in reality, even higher. Not only that, but, again, in our province alone, there were an estimated 91,000 AIDS related deaths in 2008. Billy and I, and our friends, have lost people we love dearly that are counted in that 91,000. It's not okay.We can't be "bored" with HIV education... not till the education leads to some significant changes.

while walking through a neighborhood passing out free condoms and magazines is just a drop in that rather large bucket... we're praying that this weekend, it's the drop that saves a woman's life in the future. That protects a child from becoming another statistic we are too familar with - an AIDS orphan. That opens conversations between partners and friends that might eventually change individuals who will continue to bring change into their communities.


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