An Italian Mozambiquan DREAM mission has recently been to Cubal, in Angola, to visit the local DREAM centre. Also some Beira activists took part of the mission, Veronica and Yvonne, of the Eu DREAM Movement, in Cubal to share with their angolan "colleagues" their experience.
Angola is changing a lot, in these last years. It has become the first African producer of oil, surpassing Nigeria, and particularly the capital city, Luanda, has become the arrival point of the nouveaux Angolan riches (not a lot to tell the truth) and the crossroad of the mining activity business. Particularly strong is the presence of emigrates from the Far East, chinese above all, that are now omnipresent: at the airport their number is impressive.
The capital city is living a large building fever and is perpetually blocked by traffic jams of cars of recent importation. But not a lot of the richness obtained thanks to the black gold is spent in investments for the country. In Luanda itself skyscrapers are growing and the cost of the apartments is expoding, but nothing is done for water, the drainage system, the electric network, the road one, and for all the necessary services to the people. They have restored the public hospitals (as part of the agreements initialed for the exchange of oil), but inside of the same structures whole departments remain empty or not working because the necessary instrumentation is not available or is lacking medical staff. The impression is that of an astounding development but without a coherent plan for the people. But this is the big city. In the immense angolan periphery time is still motionless and very little of the richness that it is accumulated in the capital city or that goes East, leaves something for the country side. In this context DREAM continues to bring out its work.
The missionary hospital in which the Cubal care center is placed is confronted with a lot of difficulties, economical in the first place, and then connected to the deficiency of personnel, but is always an important referece point for a lot in the neighborhood. Angola, luckily, does not know the usually high HIV positive prevalence of southern Africa. In Cubal in two years 2433 persons were tested and of these as much as 2239 resulted negative. Such low predominances would really allow the country to stop the epidemic and to guarantee a free AIDS generation. But a serious and widespread investment of the now available resources would be needed. In this context of the DREAM mission al lot of importance was dedicated to the work of the activists. It is some time that in Cubal a small group of ill persons support nurses and doctors in their work.
The meeting of these activists with their counterpart of Beira has become precious to confront the respective experiences and to have a clearer meaning of what a DREAM activist is. It was insisted above all on the aid to the sick and on personal experiences, as a way of encouragement and return of a positivity and of a dignity often compromised from the prevailing mentality. A serious issue is, in fact, the problem of the stigma. Being there a predominance of 1,2% among the pregnant, the women in treatment are really few and feel weak to compare themselves with the other. In particular, their family relationships are very difficult. A woman told that her father-in-law threw away the chair she sat on every time he went to make her a visit! Veronica and Yvonne have been very good to establish a relationsip with each of the women that they spoken with, in a very delicate but extremely effective way, with the wisdom of who met (or lived) a lot of similar situations.