Facing HIV/AIDS in Kitui

October 8, 2014

Kitui, Kenya Partnership

HIV Meeting

On Monday, October 6,  Joyce, Jodee and I (Lucy) were privileged to attend an HIV/AIDS support group sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Kitui.  This group, which has been meeting since 2005, is composed of both Muslim and Christian women and men. The stories they shared of being isolated, afraid and stigmatized were very powerful. Through the Catholic Church, they have received household items such as mattresses and medication not provided by the government.  More importantly, this group and the church have given them hope and a purpose.

The Diocese has provided a green house, and the group grows products such as kale.  They water the plants nightly and sell them to provide a source of income to become self-sustaining.  We toured the green house and did some weeding!

Hiv garden

The support group meets at the home of a Protestant woman who is not HIV positive but felt compelled in her heart to work with those who are.  Her story was also shared. She and her husband have been accused of being HIV positive and gossiped about, yet she continues to provide counseling and a place to meet.  She is supported by an employee of the Diocese who helps facilitate the group.  The first question they asked us was “is HIV/AIDS a big concern in the USA?” Reflecting later, we realized how we don’t really think about it much back home.

When I return, I will never hear HIV without thinking of the women and men I met in Kitui.

Lucy Johnson