Each person in attendance introduced themselves and shared how they are related to Amazima. Glory was given to God while discussing all of the ways he has carried our families. Through the hard times and the good times, everyone agreed that God is good- ALL the time!
Following introductions, we started the day by going over basic information about HIV and AIDS. Although basic facts are pretty well known among the Ugandan families, they are often times mixed with misinformation. This educational segment of the day provided us with a great opportunity to debunk any myths circling around the communities. Our favorite truth to promote? HIV is NOT a death sentence!
The first day was mainly informational. During the second day of our workshop, two guest speakers who are HIV-positive discussed healthy lifestyles for people living with HIV. They also talked about the hard issue of disclosure (openness in informing others).
Often times, people who are diagnosed with HIV face stigma and discrimination. A powerful time of group counseling was held where emotions, stories, and thoughts about the individual and communal challenges of living with HIV were shared. Participants told their stories and exchanged ideas about how to cope with some of these difficulties.
By the end of the day, the group expressed interest in meeting again. There was a special feeling of unity and relief in sharing burdens that are culturally expected to be kept a secret.
The grandmother of one of our sponsored children shared at the end of the day,
"This is a disease of acceptance. Sometimes its hard to accept that this is happening to you, but once you accept it, you can move on. Afterall, now we know, this is not a death sentence!"
Thank you to all of those who have donated to our medical care fund and prayed for our HIV and AIDS support workshop. We truly believe hearts will be changed through these times as families gather together. These families have carried many burdens in their lives and need to know that there is a safe place for them to be supported.
We are thankful that no mater what, God is good, all the time!