Channels of Hope



In the announcement of the AIDS Link Channels of Hope Facilitators’ Training I read the following:

*Are you working with the vulnerable, marginalised or people affected by HIV or AIDS? *Do you want to be equiped to make a difference? *You will be challenged in your thinking, come away with changed perceptions, gain the skills to present Channels of Hope© workshops and have the ability to make a real difference in the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

The following topics would be explored:

–      HIV, AIDS and Me

–      Living with HIV

–      A Christian Response

–      An HIV Competent Community

And then the venue: it would be from September 5-11 in South Africa.

The first time I saw the information I was more pre-occupied with all the costs involved. Travel to South Africa and then the costs for the training.

But every time I came back to it and it appealed to me more and more. And finally I decided NOT to think about the costs, but even to go for a holiday in South Africa. Because it doesn’t make sense to visit a country where you’ve never been to only for a training. Thus also the holiday to Jeffrey’s Bay, that I mentioned in former posts.

On September 4 I left for Johannesburg where I would be picked up at the airport and where I also would meet some people who went to the same training. I thought that it would be all participants, but three of them were trainers. And what trainers they were. They were five of them, of whom the couple I met at the airport, and the three other were women. They were from different countries and very good facilitators who captured our attention from the very first minute. As participants we were 27 in number and also from all over. Russia, South Korea, China, Switserland, Northern Ireland, Zambia Zimbabwe, South Africa, USA.

The topics were very diverse. HIV and AIDS, stages of infection, how the virus attacks the body and how ARV attack the virus. But also the question was raised how my attitude was when facing HIV, AIDS and people living with HIV. Do I put myself opposite of someone who is living with HIV or do I stand next to him or her. It became very personal when one of our group gave his testimony saying that he was HIV positive, living with the virus already for over twenty years. And then we already experienced that we had to be channels of hope. In Christ we have a living hope, a giving hope full with compassion. The choice was and is ours. Do we, do I, want to be a channel of hope, compelled by the love of Christ to bring and show Christ working through me, loving the other? Accepting every person as he/she is and respecting his/her value in Christ.

We all signed the pledge to be channels of hope at the end of the training. And we will be held accountable.

How do I want to start in Adi? First of all I want to share what I learned with my co-workers (Bhayo, Likambo, Ayikoyo, Alio and Okusaru). And as well with the board of the AIDS Awareness Program. Both will be feasable, but I don’t know yet in which format I will teach it. One day, three days, every meeting something?

Before I left for South Africa the director of the school of nursing in Adi asked me if I was ready to teach about AIDS to their students. I might be able to implement some here as well. The Bible Institute in Adi is another possibility to share, in stead of only working with ‘Choosing Hope’ that we are using now. Introducing practical work for these students. However, what I really would like to see is that more Congolese will follow the training that I have followed and themselves be facilitators and channels of hope.

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