On 2 May, the DREAM centre in Blantyre celebrated its first year of activities.
There was a big meal, attended by around 200 patients, and later campaigners who belong to the Women for DREAM association organized a real performance, with songs, dances and skits.
On the faces of those present, there shone great joy and peace, which came from having rediscovered hope in the future.
The Women for DREAM association was born only very recently.
The campaigners of the DREAM centres of Blantyre and Lilongwe felt the need to come together in a national association and they invited patients who wanted to be a part of its setting up to join them.
Previously, in Blantyre (2 May), with the participation of some women from Balaka, and later from Lilongwe (4 May), around eighty women and some men came together. Both meetings opened with a rerun of the history of the Community of Sant’Egidio and its friendship with Africa.
This was followed by the testimony of Pacem, one of the first DREAM campaigners of Malawi, who talked about her experience and meeting the Mulheres para o DREAM, a sister Mozambican association of DREAM campaigners.
After her address, a lively discussion got under way, with many people sharing their story about what it means to live with AIDS, but also about the turnaround they experienced in their personal encounter with DREAM.
The many interventions, which were involved and moving, revealed the problems linked to stigma and fear of the sickness, but more than anything, they showed what DREAM means to the lives of many: gratefulness for treatment received and the joy of renewed life, together with the desire to communicate to many others the message that AIDS can be defeated. As Lucy put it: “Together we live better, we win over fear and find the strength to speak to others.”
At the end of the meeting, each campaigner was given a membership card of the association and a DREAM t-shirt. The final greetings were accompanied by singing and dancing, and the promise to come together for another meeting soon.