Today we were blessed by the singing, dancing and acting of the HIV positive women’s support group that meets at Ray of Hope weekly. Some of the women put on a very funny play with a message about HIV. After lunch, Karen and I went with Hendrica (the community outreach worker) and two women from the acting/support group and visited the homes of 5 HIV positive women. A common theme of the women’s stories was: because of HIV, the women’s husbands abandoned them and their children, or their husband’s families’ shunned them after their husband’s death and they ended up poor, living in the Kawangware. The blessing was found in the wonderful community and friendship these women shared, they laughed and teased each other. Despite being HIV positive and having to be very secretive with their neighbors (if their landlord knows they are HIV positive, they will be kicked out of their home) they have this support group they can share with and through this have developed bonds for empowerment.
We had an opportunity to purchase items that would support participants in the microfinance groups at RoH. Craig, Josh, Katie and I went on home visits with all the children. Yes, 57 children plus their school teachers, Evelyn and Alfred. As we walked through the slums, I had a moment of clarity—this was just like the Sally Struthers Relief for Africa commercial and I was in it…this was real. The street vendors selling vegetables, meat, clothes, fish, charcoal, beans, rice, you name it—they had it! The hustle and bustle, the congestion of people, the smiles and waves of the Kenyan felt so welcoming and warm. This was our parade.
We managed to begin our painting of the clinic, which we will resume tomorrow.