We woke this morning to the excitement of visiting our final organization, Support for International Change. After boarding the safari trucks, we headed to the Arusha branch of SIC to visit with the staff and learn a bit about their work in Tanzania.
We sat in a circle in the middle of a beautiful building and listened as the staff explained the history of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, the current statistics, prevention methods that are taught, the testing procedures and how the organization operates.
It was rewarding to see and hear how much the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks challenge has helped SIC. Without 3 Peaks 3 Weeks, this organization would not have expanded into two branches and would not be able to reach the large number of people that it does today. The staff extended great gratitude to our team, the teams of the past and all of our supporters.
After lunch, we headed out into the field to visit a Saturday afternoon HIV/AIDS support group. The group was a mixture of men and women who belong to different local ethnic groups. We watched as they sang, danced and performed a short skit about the stigma that surrounds individuals who are HIV positive.
After the group meeting we headed to the homes of four HIV positive individuals. We were able to see how the villages have responded and reacted to those who have HIV/AIDS. Many people choose not to tell their family or others in their village for a fear of being stigmatized or possibly ousted from their homes. The individuals who attend the support group know their status, but many do not always know the status of their partner or children. During the visit, some groups were able to hear the stories of how the person was handling their life with HIV, while others could not discuss the issue because family members were present.
We extended our thank yous and goodbyes to the families and headed back to the support group meeting area to receive a small gift of Maasai bracelets and necklaces. We then ended the day with a tug-a-war challenge between group members and the 2011 3 Peaks 3 Weeks team. Last year the support group dominated, but this year with the help of a few staff members from SIC and the muscles of our cameraman, Doug, we managed to win! The team was victorious and left happy to have had such a great day.
This day was a real reminder that we have supported yet another great cause. We were left with the words from the group leader telling us to not forget SIC and to keep giving to this organization because the funding that has been provided touches hearts and impacts the lives of many people here in Tanzania. We are leaving relieved to help, but eager to continue to support such an amazing program.
We have been slow on posting during these past couple days, so please make sure you go back and read yesterday’s post, which has only been up a few hours.
Tuko pomoja kushinda ukimwi (We are together to fight HIV)!
Posted by Kaitlyn Oddy