"Mary, you are our mirror! Thank you for the testimony of hope that you brought us." That of the patients and activists was a unanimous chorus in the DREAM Center 'para a criança' in Maputo, when thanking the American activist Mary Fisher during her visit to the Center last Tuesday.
Mary Fisher has been HIV positive since twenty years. After discovering the infection, she decided to devote her life to the fight against discrimination in the United States. Famous are her passionate speeches in front of the American politicians, one of which was considered "one of the best American speeches of the 20th century."
'I have been HIV positive for twenty years. I was infected by my second husband. I remember the fear I felt when I was diagnosed with AIDS. I remember the terror I felt during those two weeks before having the result of the analysis of my two children. That's why I decided to fight. Fear can disrupt our lives and we must never allow it. We must be united in the fight and help each other! ". That is how she started her meeting with the dozens of patients who were waiting for their turn for examination.
The passionate words, sympathy and compassion resounded in the center. Slowly even the more timid patients, frightened by the camera that recorded the meeting, started coming up.
At the Center she embraced them all, one by one, listened to their questions, responded to all, gave a word of hope to everyone, after visiting the store, the pharmacy, the laboratory, accompanied by the activists of the program. "You are heroes!" she said. "The love, self-sacrifice and your professionalism are priceless."
Many have wanted to thank and ask personal questions. "Do you take antiretrovirals? For how long? Have your children been infected? ". At the end, Ivone, one of the activists, spoke and said. "Thank you. You answered the questions I had in mind before I asked. When I got sick, I asked God to give me at least another five years. It's been ten. With your testimony today, I can ask God to give me ten more, and ten more. You came here to tell me that I can still hope! "
Cacilda said that she had read that ARVs make you look old. "Look at Mary. She is young and beautiful. And even sensual! " A big round of applause burst out.
Mary Fisher did not forget Ana Maria Muhai. "She devoted herself to the service of the community, she struggled with all her strength and all her love and never gave up. We must continue her fight. Without fear. Ana Maria is a universal symbol of the struggle against 'AIDS'.
The song of DREAM, the one that activists sing in meetings and during special visits and occasions, hailed farewell to Mary Fisher. But there also was a "Goodbye sister, come back and visit us soon."