I went to Matthew’s gig last Sunday. Let’s just say because of it, I now have a hooping class to teach on Sunday. ::sigh:: I have a feeling it’s going to be more of a hooping demonstration then anything else. I’m still looking for materials, but have trouble creating them do to severe lack of funds and lack of mobility. Luckily for me, Matt has agreed to take me to the hardware store to see if they have the right tubing. Electrical tape should be fairly easy to find. I hope these ladies won’t mind reimbursing me for the materials!
So if you ever wondered what the gent who’s crazy enough to let me stay in his home for two months looks like…
My job is interesting. They mostly just hand me a task and say “do this.” Right now I’m working on categorizing a list of kids who come to a morning play group. Not really the most sophisticated of tasks, I’ll admit. This morning play group is designed to provide something for the kids to do while they wait for their doctor’s appointments. One of the people who runs this saw me hooping today and actually invited me down tomorrow to teach the kids a thing or two.
There’s a camp that people have been planning for quite some time now. It’s for kids with HIV and kids who are just sick and haven’t been tested yet. (getting tested is a choice after all.) They learn about nutrition, play games, and take their meds together. It’s one of those “sure you’re sick…but life doesn’t have to suck all the time!” kind of camps. I’ve been talking to my supervisor about maybe including a knitting or a hooping class for the kids. He seems fairly interested. I’ve already located a yarn store in town and will be going there tomorrow to request sponsorship. I’m seriously considering volunteering for this camp. What could possibly be a better way to spend my birthday while in town? I don’t really know enough people to invite other then the few I’ve met at work (most of whom are leaving before my birthday) and Matt and Premal’s friends. I don’t really have any of my own friends around here yet. I know it’s really early…but ::shrug:: we’ll see.
I’m certainly learning a lot about AIDS and the pandemic going on right now. A lot of what I’ve been reading discusses the falsities that are perpetuated in modern society. For example, you can’t get the HIV from sharing a glass of water with someone who is infected. Also the medications (ARVs) drop the virus so low that the CD4 count remains high and strong. A person could live a normal, healthy life even if they have HIV. They just need to remember to take their medication every day at the exact same time. Now it’s not all flowers and cotton candy. There’s a lot of shit these folk have to deal with regarding what’s going on in their own bodies, but it’s certainly not like they’re going to keel over and die within a month of contracting the virus. In fact, someone who is taking their meds regularly and properly has a less then 10% chance of infecting someone else, especially if they’re cautious.
One of the things Botswana is dealing with regarding the regular usage of these medications is that traditional medicine is still very popular here. I asked one of my co-workers what she meant exactly by “traditional medicine.” She explained that it was tinctures, herbs, and things of that nature. Sometimes these traditional medicines will work poorly with the ARVs (antiretrovirals) causing the individual to have a greater number of side effects such as vomiting, rash, fever, and other such nasties.
One thing that especially shocked me was to learn, from my supervisor, that the International AIDS Conference (http://www.aids2010.org/) had very few people from Africa present. Most of the folk there were from Europe or the states. The Africans apparently had had difficulty obtaining visas. This, in my opinion, is total bullshit. The population with the greatest number of individuals with AIDS and HIV live in Africa. There had also been a distinct lack of representation of children born with HIV. I’m not saying that other folk don’t have a valid point, but seriously….these kids didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter. They were born sick.
My supervisor pointed out something to me when I made a comment about something I’d learned in college regarding the spread of HIV in the US. He said that it was rather sad and interesting that even though the US only has pockets of serious infection, it is providing the greatest amount of research. He made it sound as if people were ignoring Africa’s pandemic. I want to do more research on this matter to see if this is really what’s going on. It sounds too ridiculous to be true.