|Heidi at lunch|
by Heidi Janss
Yesterday, when we spent the afternoon with the people at Ubuzima, most of us forgot that they are living with HIV/AIDS. As we sat side by side, learning to make beads, conversing in different languages, and sharing laughter, it was easy to forget that these people are sick. They do not live like they are sick. They live in hope for the future and thankfulness to be alive. This joy was contagious.
Today was a different story. We got in our team van and drove to different parts of the city to meet with three women from Ubuzima who are suffering from complications of their disease. On our visits, we took them rice, grains, beans, fresh fruit, oil and soap. The first woman lived at the top of a hill (read "mountain" here). The first third of our journey up was manageable. We travelled over roots, rocks, gullies, and discarded shoes, weaving our way back and forth up the side of the hill. With every turn in the path, we said a silent prayer that we were there. That prayer wasn't answered for 20 minutes, we when arrived at the top with our hearts about to burst out of our chests (and I'm not just saying that as the middle-aged mom of the group).
|The team climbing down a "hill"|
Our second visit was to a woman named Nancy who also lived at the top of a hill, but thankfully this one was not as daunting as the first. Nancy is bed-ridden, suffering from secondary infections of her HIV/AIDS. Her house, even though twice the size of the first house, could probably fit into your living room. And, like the first house, it was dark, very dark, since the house had no windows. We took turns going into her bedroom in groups of three (one adult and two teens) to meet her. Nancy said that her faith in God was strong. She described the sickness she is feeling as "the enemies inside her" and said that God's love would defeat those enemies. She told us that when she heard we were coming, she felt the enemies breaking apart. Nancy also blessed us and called us family. We then gathered in her living room and met three of her children, boys ages 13, 12 and 11. Nancy has two girls, ages 9 and 7, who were at school. (The kids here split their time in school with everyone spending half a day there.) We asked the boys questions, like what they liked to do, and they did the same to us. We then went outside to play with the soccer ball we brought for them.
|The team at Denise's house. Denise is in the back in the|
purple shirt. Her mother stands in front of her. David our
translator for the day kneels in front of Alysa who served
as our guide. The young man in front is Denise's son.
What did we see today? We saw women and families living with disease and living in poverty. We also saw the same families living with faith and in relationship with Christ. In a way, today's story wasn't much different than our story from yesterday. Yes, the disease in these women was definitely evident. But, they also live in hope for the future and thankfulness to be alive.
|The view from our guest house (Moucecore) at night.|