Sharing Remembrance, Healing and Hope with the World

AFRICA

Two members of Positive Voices were able to visit Namibia in Africa. Here is a report of what they did.


Namibia Tour 2003 Report

By Greg Satorie

Beginning May 18, 2003, and ending August 2, 2003, I
toured Namibia in Southwest Africa to do HIV Prevention and
Positive Living Education as a guest of Catholic AIDS
Action. I visited schools, hospitals, prisons, groups of
volunteers, clients and community members to help stop the
spread of HIV, and to offer hope and empowerment to the
many who are already infected.


I want to thank Catholic AIDS Actions many staff, and
volunteers who made my trip a very productive, well
organized and enjoyable experience, especially
Francis Von Rooi, who coordinated the project, and all the
regional staff and volunteers who served as my hosts.
Thank you also to the American Cultural Center who provided
funds for Airfare and travel. Thank you to Lironga Eparu
who also cosponsored. And thank you to many individuals and
groups in the USA who contributed to my travel and charity
purse including Buddy and Linda Kaufman and the Steven
Kaufman AIDS Outreach Project, Fr Peter Lyons and St.
Wenceslaus Church, Students of Hereford High School and
Roland Park Country School, Bob Scarano, Jim White, Members
of Grace United Church of Christ, and my parents, Dick and
Mary Lou Satorie, to name a few. I couldn't have been away
from home with no income for so long without your help.


During the 75 day tour, I traveled to Caprivi, Oshana and
Omusati in the North, speaking in nearly 40 venues. I
spent time in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakamond, Usakos,
Karabib, and several stops in Gobabis and the Omaheke
Region. I also made several stops in the Hardap Region and
visited most of the population centers of the Karas
Region. Everywhere I went I received an overwhelmingly
enthusiastic response and was told that more time was
needed to reach all the volunteers, clients, schools and
community in the Region.


The culture of AIDS in Namibia has been infused with
denial, fear, despair and stigma. Appearing and speaking
openly about prevention AIDS and my 22 years
of HIV infection has had a profound impact. Most people
have believed that once infected a person would die very
quickly. I was able to explain and demonstrate that this
does not have to be the case. It is impossible for me to
know the full impact I was having, but the feedback and
comments of gratitude and new found hope, and requests for
more time, or to come back soon, tell me that I was making
a big difference.


And so I would conclude that the tour of Namibia has been
an amazing success. I have spoken to over 25,000 Namibians
face to face, and reach countless more with TV, Radio and
print media. Every audience heard a strong message of
prevention and hope for those infected. Some regions
requested programs on starting support groups and doing
massage and healing work for clients. I shared my
experience of coming to terms with my own HIV infection
and living openly and positively with HIV for 22 years, the
first 16 without ARV's. My 30 day tour of Namibia last
year resulted in the publications from Catholic AIDS
Action, "12 Steps to Living Positively with HIV" and more
recently"How to Start a Support Group". In many locations
some books were distributed in conjunction with my visit.


For three weeks, Kevin Clemons of Positive Voices our HIV
Prevention group in Baltimore was able to join me and
participate in talks and presentations. We sang a few
concerts and worked as a powerful team not only to fight HIV
and AIDS, but also racism. Many thanks to Kevin for his
wonderful support and participation.


The trip has been an amazing personal experience as well.
The many helpful and concerned individuals who have make my stay enjoyable, translated for me, fed and cooked for me,
helped with transportation and various details are very
numerous. Thank you to you all. Your friendship and
prayers mean so much to me. I cherish the opportunity I
have had to speak with so many young people
in schools and other events. I am happy to say the
greatest challenge was living without hot water in a few of
the stops. Something I was able to cope with without too
much distress.


Speaking to so many groups large and small, I am constantly
reminded that each person, each life matters. So many have
approached me afterwards with words of thanks that I am
encouraged to believe my message is having far reaching
effect. Knowing I have made a difference in one person's
life means so much. One woman told me that after hearing
me last year, she realized that her behavior was putting
her at risk for HIV. She got an HIV test. When she
learned that she had not been infected it gave here the
courage and motivation to change her behavior so that she
will remain HIV negative. One life saved.


When we were leaving after speaking at a high school, one
of the students shared with us that she had not been
feeling that good about herself or that her life mattered.
After hearing Kevin and I share about positive living even
though we are infected with HIV, she was moved to
reconsider herself and her life. If we could be so
positive even though we were infected with HIV then she
could believe in herself and her life. She promised us she
would value and appreciate her life and the opportunities
she has. What a gift to know you have made a difference.
These are just a couple examples that were repeated over
and over throughout my 11 weeks journey around Namibia.


In the future I would suggest that a similar approach be
used to tour the country. I would recommend that more
funding be secured to offset the financial impact on
Catholic AIDS Action and it's many other activities. I
would like to spend time in the Regions that I was not able
to visit this trip such as Rundu, and more time in the
areas where I spent only a day or two, especially
Keetmanshoop, Karasburg, Luderitz, Orenjamond, and
Caprivi. I would like to have time to actually work with
the local volunteers and clients in their gardening
projects.


I was also able to do some research into local plants which
would be good sources of nutrition. Some examples are: The
leaves of Amaranth (common pigweed) also called Marog, are
very high in Vitamin A, protein, iron and calcium. This
plant is very high yielding and has low water
requirements. Also, the fruits of the Bird Plum, Boabab
(Monkey-bread) and Marula trees, as well as the sap of the
Fan Palm are very high in Vitamin C. These should be added
to future printings of the "12 Steps to Positive Living
with HIV" publication within chapter 3.


The following is a break done of the talks in chronological
order providing an estimate of the attendance and
location:


Hardap Region:
20 Rehoboth home visits
150 Kalkrand community meeting

Caprivi Region:
300 Katima Mulilo Positive Living Conference
Conversation with the Deputy Foreign Minister on the plane
back to Windhoek

Omaheke Region:
100 Epukiro community meeting
60 Otjenene community meeting
150 Gobabis community meeting
25 Gobabis volunteer workshop on massage
135 Leonardville community meeting

Khomas Region:
Radio Ecclaisia taping
6 Windhoek volunteers workshop on relaxation and
prayer

Oshana and Omusati Regions:
200 Oshikati home based care givers
60 Ondangwa home based care givers
100 Mission north of Ondangwa home based care givers
150 Okatana students, volunteers and clients
20 Outapi HIV/AIDS Coordinating Council
250 Anamalenga school
300 Outapi high school
250 Rural school
50 Catholic AIDS Action volunteers
75 Okahao community meeting
250 Outapi community meeting
80 Ruacana Location community meeting
225 Anamalenga community meeting
70 Oshikuku home base care givers and clients
900 Oshikuku high school, and community
250 Rural school
100 Ongonga Agricultural school
75 Rural mission home base care givers and clients
450 Same mission learners and community
40 Okalonga volunteers and community
1000 Okalonga high school and community
45 Oshana regional HIV/AIDS coordinating council
175 Oshikati youth program
300 Ongadiva youth and community meeting
250 Oshikati soccer tournament
22 Oshikati support group meeting for PWLA
80 Oshikati youth program
255 Ongadiva ELC center

Khomas Region:
300 Windhoek Churches Alliance for Orphans
15 Windhoek HIV/AIDS speakers training

Erongo Region:
800 Naraville high school
50 Multipurpose Center clients and Ethiopian visitors
45 Swakopmond Hotel and Entertainment employees
10 Walvis Bay Protea Hotel employees
300 Walvis Bay Prison inmates and guards
20 Multipurpose Center volunteers on massage
30 Naraville volunteers on massage
150 Orphans and vulnerable children and community event
NBC TV interview
50 Walvis Bay Catholic church
200 Naraville community event
150 Walvis Bay Catholic church
500 Kiesebmond Catholic church
100 Naraville community service
750 Keisebmond high school
175 Usakos volunteers and community event
50 Karabib volunteers and community event

Khomas Region: (Kevin arrives)
50 Windhoek volunteers on support groups
75 Windhoek AFM church
225 Windhoek AFM church
250 Eros school for girls
Channel 7 Radio interview
1000 Khomasdal high school
Energy Radio interview
JHU/UNam radio taping
Channel 7 radio taping
12 Winhoek peer educators, American Cultural Center
60 Windhoek UNDP United Nations employees
6 Telecom Medical Aid committee
6 Gospel Mission women's meeting
70 Lirongo Eparu National Congress
35 Windhoek Concert
80 Katatura Concert
30 Windhoek clients on support groups
18 Nampower training for trainers
30 Eros primary school teachers
3 Katatura State Hospital patients
53 Katatura Peoples primary school teachers
400 Eros primary school

Hardap Region:
500 Mariental Prison inmates and guards
10 Mariental clients
25 Mariental home base care givers
120 Mariental community event
400 Mariental primary school
650 Mariental high school
450 Mariental jr secondary school

Karas Region:
675 Keetmanshoop high school
150 Keetmanshoop prison inmates and guards
850 Keetmanshoop jr secondary school
350 Keetmanshoop location jr secondary school
70 Keetmanshoop youth rally
150 Keetmanshoop community event
450 Keetmanshoop Catholic church
150 Keetmanshoop location Dutch Reformed church
425 Keetmanshoop location ELC church
50 Karasburg youth rally
45 Karasburg National Defense Force base
20 Karasburg home base care givers
10 Karasburg clients
120 Karasburg youth mass
300 Karasburg location primary school
450 Lordsville primary school
300 Lordsville jr secondary school
450 Karasburg high school
100 Luderitz community, doctors, nurses and volunteers
520 Luderitz location Jr. secondary school
780 Luderitz high school
200 Luderitz Jr. secondary school
20 Luderitz private high school
80 Luderitz fish factory
300 Luderitz fish factory
120 Luderitz Seaflower fish factory
450 Luderitz community event
150 Luderitz prison inmates and guards
30 Luderitz hospital patients

Khomas Region:
200 UNDP HIV/AIDS community event at Zoo Park
NBC TV coverage
(Kevin departs)
10 Katatura State hospital patients
10 Katatura State hospital patients
720 Windhoek Polytech school
20 First National Bank HIV workshop

Hardap Region:
5 Rehoboth Town Council HIV/AIDS committee
100 Rehoboth high school
10 Rehoboth home base care givers
6 Rehoboth Pastors committee
14 Rehoboth clients
180 ELC church community event
200 Schlip jr secondary school and volunteers
200 Schlip primary school and community
16 Rehoboth teachers, Doctors and nurses
Rehoboth community Radio interview
20 Bahnholf community and volunteers
200 Rehoboth Methodist church
Karas Region:
50 Oranjemond miners location 3
400 Oranjemond miners hostel
200 Oranjemond community event

Khomas Region
300 Windhoek prison inmates and guards
20 Voluntary counseling and testing training
100 Prosperity Health workshop for employers and
Medical Aid officers


Again, everywhere I spoke the reaction was overwhelming
enthusiasm and requests for more time to reach more of the
volunteers, clients, schools and community. I hope this
can be possible soon.


With money I raised myself with the oversight of the
Franciscan Outreach Project: I made the following
donations:


$100 US to Chesire Home for Disabled Children, Anemelenga,
Oshukati with the suggestion that it be used to buy some
additional nutritious food supplies.


$500 US to Oshana CAA volunteers and clients income
producing project with the suggestion of purchasing
equipment for leather working, specifically a heavy duty
sewing machine.


$200 US to the Walvis Bay Prison Inmates Gardening project
with the specific suggestion of securing a water filter for
the gray water considered to polluted for garden use.


$100 US to the Mariental Prison for garden use.

$20 US to the Mariental Prison CAA volunteer inmates' bead
making project.


$120 US to Keetmanshoop prison with the suggestion that it
be used to create an inmate garden.


N$400 Namibian to various blind people begging on the
streets


N$400 Namibian to various street children begging on the
streets


N$2000 Namibian for gifts for volunteer, employees,
clients, and library of CAA, or gratuities for services on
their behalf.


$1000 US to Catholic AIDS Action to help with expenses
incurred due to my visit.


$300 US to support an Angolan Seminarian in continuing
studies for priesthood in Namibia


Thank you for the opportunity to be in service with all of
you.