Our first full day in Rwanda was spent at the offices of our good friends at WE-ACTx in Kigali. I’ve written extensively about this amazing organization and it’s been wonderful to see the growth and success that they’ve accomplished in the past four years since we’ve been here.
The overall AIDS rate in Rwanda is currently at 3% – with lower numbers in rural areas and higher levels in urban centers. Generally the emphasis is shifting from direct treatment to maintenance (health workers making sure folks are taking their meds) and AIDS education and awareness, trauma treatment, and an expanded youth program. WE-ACT-x has grown to the point now that former youth participants are no working as counselors and a new youth yoga program is meeting with great success. (Among the things we brought over with us from Chicago: 30+ yoga mats…)
We spent the day at the WE-ACTx office volunteering: sorting meds (that’s out teenage contingent above showing off their handiwork) and helping to paint a colorful mural in a new youth library (next down) Also engaged in some very interesting conversations with workers and locals about the complex realities of Rwanda post-genocide. More on that later.
Today, more quality time with WE-ACTx and a return visit to the Kigali genocide museum. Stay tuned.
Sounds wonderful. Thank you for bringing us along! Ethan’s been to Rwanda, but I haven’t; I hope to go someday.
Your team looks like they are having way too much fun for this to count as a mitzvah. Shape up guys; look like you’re really doing good deeds.
Our buddy, Michael Davis, was a major hit here at the Episcopal General Convention in Indianapolis, testifying at our big deal hearing to defend our embarrassingly mild resolution to study Steadfast Hope and Kairos Palestine. Along with Hedy Epstein (five feet of pure dynamite), Michael Berg (St Louis) and Sandra Tamari (Palestinian Christian) as our guests, they at least gave the awesomely large national and international committee pause. Following the hearing, we gathered at our Episcopal Peace Fellowship exhibit space to welcome Shabbat. Michael led us in a lovely service which made all our efforts worthwhile. What a blessing!
The hearing itself went very well. We had some 35-40 witnesses … but learned from the opposition that these documents are dangerously anti-semitic and “unbalanced”. No illusions that we will win this one, but we awaken some more Episcopalians every day. We also learned that at the highest level I/we are considered “outsiders’ who are interfering unhelpfully. Couldn’t be more proud!
Travel safely, friends. Keep those smiles coming. Blessings to you all.
Dear Cotton Fite,
Please don’t use Hebrew words like Mitzvah or “observe” Shabbat because you show a hatred towards the Jewish State of Israel and Zion.
Perhaps, you could learn from Mrs. Paula Stern in her piece at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11866#.T_npd4l5mc0
wonderful efforts that are really working when people cooperate in spirit.So lucky you are brant to be a ble to see this in motion.
Hi from Denver. I have been enjoying your blog and reliving our own trip to Nairobi, There are so many similarities between these two projects! Love to share some thought with you when you get back.