ISSN 0856-9135;  No. 00246


November 16 - 22, 2002

Fighting the epidemic

Fighting the epidemic…notes from the field

By Chris Karis

In October, a team of volunteers from the United African American Community Center (UAACC) started their campaign against the spread of HIV/Aids. The following is an account of a typical day in the life of an askari in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


Working together in collaboration with students from the UAACC literacy programs and a volunteer Kate Bowler from the Global Services Corps (G.S.C.) the team comprising of Ali Mhina, Steve Mnguto, Esther Warobi and Chris Karis started their educational tour of mobilizing the community and sharing together vital information in understanding this deadly disease AIDS and how to curb it’s further spread

The UAACC team started by visiting the Tengeru Flower Company popularly known as Kombe roses. The company administration warmly welcomed the idea of sharing the good news with the staff members which a word force of approximately a hundred and sixty workers. On Tuesday and Fridays for the entire month of October. The team defied the hot sun and dusty weather to walk from UAACC to the flower company, which is four kilometers to and fro. With sitting capacity of a hundred and twenty the first day, the team started by divining what s HIV and AIDS, sadly enough everyone present during the opening day confessed to having lost a friend or a close relative who had succumbed to the disease it was not surprising therefore that each member present during that day was more than eager to learn more about the deadly disease and how he/she can protect him or herself, his family and his loved ones.

It was encouraging to see that during the entire month the team from UAACC and the staff members plus the administration of Tengeru flower company had formed a very close working relationship in sharing ideas and exchanging vital information on how to go about saving lives of those who have not been infected by the disease, and for the unfortunate ones who have the virus, how to live with the virus (HIV) and how to accept infected person as fellow members of the society, sharing love and affection without discrimination.

The UAACC was highly applauded for their expertise in detailed information about AIDS disease and in answering countless number of questions covering on various aspect of life. It was a tour worth the experience and challenge to the freshly trained peer educators from UAACC. Using their notes and video clips to pass on the information, which was gladly welcomed, the tour to Tengeru flower farm was concluded by organizing a few selected staff members who will in turn receive training on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from UAACC team.

The Tengeru flower company personnel who receive training from the UAACC team will be expected to start working independently mobilizing and organizing members of the community from the villages, shopping centers, or to their place of work and teach them among many other issues:

Abstinence. -As the safest method in avoiding contracting HIV/Aids.
Being faithful to one uninfected partner.
Condoms - the proper use of condoms for those engaging in sexual activities with people they rarely know or frequently meet.


It is our hope and prayer as the UAACC community that this information and training will have positive results and we strongly do believe that there will be a drastic shortage in the lives that the disease claims in future. It will be time to reap the fruits of our labor, but as the saying goes this fight shall never stop.


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