During this last month of October, the health workers from the DREAM centre of Usa River, Arusha , have been involved in a series of meetings in the patients’ home villages to encourage others to have treatment and to overcome the fear of the stigma that the disease carries.
The meetings are part of a more complex project by the Mimi DREAM Movement which aims to reach people in the more remote areas of Arusha who are HIV positive and who are not informed about AIDS and the possibility of treatment.
The most significant meeting of these last weeks was the one held at Samaria Village, not far from the DREAM centre, in a very poor, arid area where few trees grow and it is very difficult to get water.
350 people participated in the meeting. After an introduction in which DREAM was presented by Tina, an activist, and Julius, a health worker from the centre, there were many questions – in particular about how the virus is transmitted. These questions made it possible to explain the Programme’s approach but also to find out more about the illness and to combat the stigma.
Much space was given to the problem of the numerous orphans who live in the village and the opportunity was taken to encourage everyone to take care of these children, by satisfying their everyday needs but also by taking them to be tested.
The meeting, which was also translated into the local dialect because many people only speak kichagga, finished with a commitment on the part of the whole village to help the sick and make it easier for them to be treated.