In Kapire, Mangochi District, in the heart of Malawi, it’s been a while since DREAM started its AIDS prevention and treatment activities.
Currently more than 100 people are receiving care and treatment at the centre, and their number is destined to rise gradually as news of the possibility of effective, free treatment spreads in the neighbourhood.
Here in Kapire, on 15 July, around 80 people launched the local I DREAM movement.
As usual, many people had to travel several km on foot to make it for the event. In fact, minibuses don’t go to Kapire, a village situated along an isolated and scarcely travelled toad. So it is either travel on foot or – for the luckier ones – by bicycle.
But a section of this small, poor, cut-off world – truly the image of a largely rural and marginalised Malawi – doesn’t want to resign itself to being on the margins; it wants to bridge the gap, the distance from everything and everyone, to be fully part of something bigger, of a wider horizon.
The appeal to form part of I DREAM Movement thus met with great success in Kapire.
Lidya, Rachel, Mchitsanzo and other DREAM activists organised a meal, gathering money and cooking nsima (the Malawian national dish, sort of polenta made of maize flour) and fish. Each did what he/she was responsible to do, to prepare what was publicised as a beautiful event of unity and hope.
The wait was not in vain: singing and dancing opened the rally in a festive climate that drew everyone in from the start.
There was great diversity among those who attended and took part. There were some men; however women were in the majority. The age range went from children aged no more than a few years, right up to an 86-year-old man, still healthy, who was in the front row. One woman said she was “old” but had no idea of her age: “When I reached 40, I stopped counting, and I don’t know now.” At 40, one is already old in Malawi, and every year added to that is practically a miracle.
Many expressed their interest in the Movement and in the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Rachel, for example, said she would never have imagined that the love lived in the Community of Sant’Egidio in Italy, could spread so far as to reach Kapire, a place that counts for nothing in the eyes of the wealthy world. She is one of the activists who have seen the Roman reality close-up, as she was a participant of the Pan-African meeting of the I DREAM movement. Rachel acknowledges with gratitude the maternal love and concern for her life of those who conceived and created DREAM, emphasising that everything comes from evangelical love, which is nourished by shared and personal prayer. She said that what she had received was a concrete love, which renews the energy, the voice and the future of the people of Malawi.
Another woman returned to the words of Rachel and said: “Today we can think about the future, and we want to do it together with DREAM and the Community of Sant’Egidio. For DREAM, our future is important.”
Yes, all that is done for the life of each and every man and woman is always very important, be they European of African, whether they live in big European or American or Asian cities in the heart of our globalised world, or in the extreme periphery of an African world, where everything switches off with the setting of the sun, and where no one ever goes. This has been understood in Kapire. Kapire, for once, has grasped the reality that the world is one and that the future should belong to all.
The meeting in Kapire ended with the reading out loud of the Manifesto of the I DREAM Movement.
While the colours of the sunset were shedding a red hue on the countryside, one and all walked home slowly, carrying something more, the great joy of being cared for and loved, with a new future ahead of them.