Tag Archives: Reflections

Truckers Leave AIDS Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

This article tells a story that is a common narrative in Tanzania about how HIV is spread. This time, the story takes place in Namanga, a border town between Tanzania and Kenya, and the theory is that HIV infections are rising in the town due to heavy trucker traffic and the nomadic lifestyle of the border communities.

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

While in Tanzania, our own group heard similar stories about how commuting brings HIV back into the rural villages – men would go into Arusha to work and to seek entertainment, sometimes contract the HIV virus through sexual partners in the city, and then unknowingly bring HIV back to their family and community. This is why some statistics suggest the HIV infection rate growing in rural areas even as it stabilizes or decreases in cities.

This is a similar problem to Namanga’s border town HIV problem. Residents and officials of this area blame in sufficient health and medical facilities both for failing to stop the spread of the virus. The article also suggests that though reported HIV rates are low, the problem is critical – implying not only insufficient medical care, but insufficient testing and potentially a heavy stigma regarding HIV.

Truckers Leave Aids Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

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AIDSTanzania wins Service Trip of the Year

At William and Mary’s annual “Celebration of Service” last Tuesday at the Kimball Theater, AIDSTanzania (that’s us, folks!) was honored with the Service Trip of the Year award.

Melody Porter, who presented the award, spoke of our group’s sustainable mission, projects such as the Tusaidiane Center, and drive to expand our reach with a new domestic trip next year.  She also commented on our team’s personality, humor, and spunk, since we had the opportunity of working with her during our most recent trip.

Of course we are honored for the award, but we know that our focus is on Tanzania, on the worldwide AIDS epidemic, and on the work and fundraising that needs to be done in order for our group to continue to make a change.  The speaker of the night, Allison Anoll, inspired us to be thankful for what has already been accomplished but optimistic and dedicated to what lies ahead.

Devin Oller, AIDSTanzania’s past president and graduating senior, was also honored with a “Walk the Talk” senior award for his long-term committment to service and personal sacrifice for others.

Congratulations AIDSTanzania, Devin, and THANK YOU to all of those who make our service possible.

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A Reflection on Service: Meghan Dunne

One of the first days we were in Tanzania I was having a conversation with Ambrose, a Kenyan man who was living in Tanzania working with the UAACC.  We were talking about music and sharing some of our favorite songs.  After listening to one of the songs, Ambrose asked me what type of music it was.  For lack of a better term I told him that is was “indie” music, short for independent.  We listened to music for a while, before taking a walk down the road to visit with the children at Good Hope Orphanage.  After meeting the children we began to play with them, and before long one of the younger boys began playing the drums with sticks on turned over buckets.  Before long 3 or 4 other children grabbed buckets and joined in, and then Ambrose and I walked over and began to play our own makeshift instruments.  Ambrose started to sing and we all joined in.  After a few minutes of this improvisational jamming, Ambrose looked at me and said, “Now this is independent music.”

This was one of my favorite moments of the trip.  I was so happy to be able to make personal connections with the people I met in Tanzania, and found that music was a great way in which to do that.  Besides conversations about music, we found common ground with the students at the center through writing raps in Swahili about HIV/AIDS and the importance of getting tested.  I honestly feel that making personal connections and realizing fellowship is the most important thing that we as students can do in service, and is the aspect of service that keeps me returning again and again.