I love knowing that as I write this blog, our staff, volunteers and community members in Maai Mahiu, Kenya are assembled together by the thousands in recognition of World AIDS Day. CTC is working alongside the Naivasha District for the day and planning to host over 3,000 participants. Each organization has their role and CTC’s contribution is to handle all the testing and counseling for the day. According to Jeremiah Kuria, CTC’s Kenya Director, we anticipate testing and counseling approximately 500 people. What an accomplishment benefitting a day dedicated to bringing greater awareness to the disease.
AIDS was a topic I knew little about and then 11 years ago I traveled to Africa and lived with a community devastated by the disease. What once was a distant understanding of a deadly disease quickly became people I knew and loved. That transition literally happened overnight and so did my connection to AIDS.
Through the inspiring work of those same friends who walked me through that difficult transition of ignorance to understanding, CTC is daily embracing the realities of AIDS in Africa one friend and family at a time. Through our partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, CTC has hired a work force of hundreds, staff and volunteers, working hand in hand to counsel, test and empower people infected and/or affected by the disease.
Today I feel a great deal of sadness mixed with thankfulness: sadness knowing difficult realities like the national Kenyan HIV percentage has risen in the past year from 6.9% to 7.1%, and thankfulness because I am personally doing something to combat this reality alongside an incredible team and community. Together, one step at a time, we are turning the tide, breaking the walls of stigma and stereotype and creating opportunity, awareness and positive impact in Kenya. Please join us!