Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wednesday am...second posting..
I described yesterday some of the life stories i have beenhearing over the last two days in our office..meetings one on two, with Eunice translating - with positive members of the Handeni HIV/AIDS Positive Organization...
Imet them first last week in their office...recording the following in my notes:
"From 4 to 75, in a circle, all but two women, with babies wrapped onto backs, oldand young, a tiny sick girl, aged four in pink organiza,nestled in the arms of her grandmother, warm,open, worn faces, each one beseaching with their eyes,pleading for some one out there to help them...skin and bones, weak long limbs the children crying softly, they are hungry i am told...
WE do a meditation - it is the first time it is greeted with gails of laughter. Eunice is translating...i amconfused...there has been conversation during our eyes closed, feet planted strongly on the floor, hands on knees ,palms upward...breathing in through the nose I tell them, hold it..all the while imagining and thinking of good health, joy, lush green lands, and happy things....hen breathing out through the mouth....the bad things,the sickness, the misery, the thingswhich make us un happy in our lives....the laughter continues....
the grandmother, an open engaging humourous woman, has declared with the good stuff, how can weimaginegoodthings when we arepositive? when we havenothinggood in our lives..it is a sort of joking with each other...
but wry....ajoking, but true...
but i always amtrying tofind the positivethings..i talk about their group, howintheir illnessthey have found the support andloveof each other, andalso obviously the comeradery..i amseeingnow...they doagree...this group of declared Positive people....forging like pioneers defying the stigma of the disease, rampant through out this community and all over Africa....
WE agree to meet at the ICA offices in a few days...

So Monday and Tuesday....we have met andspoken onen one with 8 people...each one braving to telltheir livfe stories...their marriages with businessmenoftenwith up to five wives...watching the others becomeillanddiemysteriously backk then with such dehabilitating circumstances,the husband nolonger working,sinking quickly into poverty, scrounging, forcing themselves to make jewellery, continue their baking business...sell wares to neighbours until their own health spirals downward, weakness, coughing, chest palpitations, fever,aching body, loss of weight..the sinking feeling of despair, of a slow dying themselves..of fear, terror,the family taking them to traditional healers....and of course nothing working to combat this vicious desease..not even after giving chickens,goats, cows,money and clean white sheets....no money,food left,no hope....a visit to the hospital, councelling with ICA - who dole out ample portions of maise meal and cooking oil along with goodadvice towards hospital visits,ARV treatment,support and often joining this Open Positive group...

REwarding and totally unexpected to me...the leader of this group, Maranga.. spoke of the effects of these interviews on the people we interviewed in his group, how they were lining up to have a chance to talk of their lives, for the first time anyone had ever taken the time to ask the stories..then they go home and tell their family and friends,with pride, of their conversations,of how someone from outside wanted to talk to them,BECAUSE they were openly positive with thecommunity....how much confidence and self esteem they felt...It was astonishing for me and very gratifying...what these meetings have meant to them....the hope it has given them...the will to believe in themselves,to go on..it was astounding.

He thought that this confidence would probably double the membership of his group over the next year,as word spread from neighbour to neighbour around the community....
We will be facilitating a Home Care workshop on Monday with members of this group and others in the town who have not yet taken the plunge to declare themselves openly...
I was presnt at two such workshops..in Zinmbabwe...given by Munarwo and his wife Orpah,the peole who are askng us to send vegetable and herb seeds from Canada to embellish their big garden, proceeds going to orphaned children in Harare....
SEND SEEDS TO: Munarwo and Orpah Magadzire, 327 Section 2, Tsanga Road, Kambuzuma, Harare, Zimbabwe....if you want to email them directly (English is spoken in Zim) email: indigem36@fastermail.com

So with information from those workshops i have been asked to facilitate one myself on Monday...combined with that, we are going to work inconcensus decision making and group organizing, with the intention of opening up members of this group to being allowed to take ownership and responsibilites of and for their group...leaning away from the one person at the top model....it has been an interesting process working with Masanga, the man who started the group, who has given his life blood to it,who has relinguished all creature comforts for his dream, who sold his bike to raise money to bus to Dares Salaam to buy books for this group, who is praying for a t v monitor and VCR to educate the community..for him to understand the natural evolving nature of successful groups, and how original founding leaders might be encouraged to relinguish a bit of power and control for the good of the growth of the whole..etc.etc...it has been fabulous to work so closely with him and his members....
carefully assessing personal issues and needs...more on that Monday next...

HELPING HIV AIDS PEOPLE IN HANDENI..
iT IS A timeof Christmas in my country and around the world....here in Handeni I am not awareof it in any way, no xmas trees,no tinsel, no cards..just onTV the othernight, in Swahili the news anchor speaking with a decorated tree behind her, oddly out of place in the world i inhabit....but Christmas time it is...
a time of giving..and I am putting out there places and people i know directly who we can help...Please send financial donations, every little bit counts, through your bank to the bank account of:
Handeni HIV Aids Positive Organization,
bank: NMB Handeni, Acct. Number: 4142300435
bank address: PO Box 123,Handeni,Tanga Tanzania.

I think that is all you need...

Tomorrow and Friday, my first two day art workshop here in Tanzania...gallons of waterbased paint arrived sunday from Dar...by bus: red,yellow, blue,white, black...I have so much paint now it will supply me all the way through Tanzania and Nairobi..!!
the rest of the supplies i have been gathering...no paper yet,that is today....
Next week we will travel by bus out 30 kil to do another art workhsop with batik artists and Masai...can't wait!

RE THE MASAI..I did manage i see to get a few pics on this blog..amazing...
I will post and publish this entry as to not lose it..terrified am i to have spent the morning and having it disappear into cyber space..and write a bit about this fascinating nomanic tribe visited by Elke and I Sunday to their village just outside of Handeni....

1 comment:

Sonia said...

Mazel Tov Lynn!
What a gift you are to the world. G_d Bless you.
Such an amazing journey, proving once again that the universe with love and faith really can and does deliver hope and aid.
I think back and remember from whence you came and your original hopes of consoling and educating through the sharing and connection of expressive arts – and now after I read your latest post --you are facilitating support groups -- you truly are amazing and such a Blessing.
Please send all my healing love to the Masai and all those in need – I only wish I could be there with you
Blessings, Peace and healing energy to you.
Shalom Sonia