It's been a very busy month for us. We started by making posters dealing with how you can protect yourself against malaria. In the picture, I'm standing with our head doctor just outside his office which is where the first poster went up. I know, it's a humble beginning, but we had to start somewhere. It's surprising that many people in Kibakwe believe that malaria can be caused by being out in the rain or by drinking corn juice. That's why we made sure that we put the phrase, "malaria is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes," at the top of the poster.
We put up the malaria posters in several spots around Kibakwe, including area schools, health clinics, and village offices. The picture shows one we attached to a baobab tree at the Idunda primary school.
World Women's Day was March 8, and we planned a celebration and HIV testing day for Kibakwe town. With the help of the secondary school headmaster, we were able to get student volunteers to make posters advertising the event, drummers, dancers, and singers. All of this was organized and executed within the two weeks leading up to Women's Day. It was a bit stressful, but it also energized everyone and allowed no one to lose interest and jump ship.
This group of about 30 secondary student girls got together every day after classes and practiced their drumming, dancing, and singing in an empty classroom in preparation for the performance on World Women's Day.
We put up posters advertising World Women's Day and HIV Testing Event at area schools, businesses, health clinics, and even outside of people's houses.
On the morning of March 8, we had no idea what to expect as far as a turnout. Everyone wanted a parade down the main road to generate interest. We were expecting it would be us and the head doctor and maybe some curious kids. It was a pleasant surprise when mama's groups and students with drums showed up, and even a car.
The parade went down the main road, through the center of town, and to the nearby subvillage of Idunda primary school, which was to be one of the testing sites.
The students did some drumming and dancing there while the medical personnel got situated and Carla and I were the first to be tested. Some other Peace Corps friends had joined us that morning to join in the festivities and they were really helpful in getting a lot of the little kids to be tested.
Once we got back to town, we were amazed to see that the stage was prepared for performances and the doctor had hired an MC and sound equipment. It's not too often that Kibakwe does anything like this.
The students had a great time performing and they were awesome. It seemed that everyone in town had showed up to see what was going on. We were amazed at the turnout for this event that was just an idea three weeks before. In the end, 313 people were tested, 7 were HIV positive, 5 were female, 2 were under the age of 10.
THE FOLLOWING IS A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS OF SOME OF OUR PEEPS IN THE MPWAPWA DISTRICT
THIS MAN IS BABA BANANA. HE SELLS BANANAS.
THIS IS THE GUY ACROSS FROM BABA BANANA. HE DOES NOT SELL BANANAS.
THIS MAN IS BABA MFUPI(SHORT). HE SELLS RICE AND BEANS.
THIS IS MATHAYO. HE SELLS MANY THINGS. HE IS NOT A P.O.S. PERSON.
THIS IS CARLA WITH BABA BANANA.
THIS IS ME WITH BABA BANANA.
THIS IS PIPI. SHE IS OUR CAT.
THIS IS OUR WATER. SOMETIMES IT IS CLEAN. SOMETIMES IT IS NOT.
THESE ARE BEANS. WE EAT A LOT OF BEANS.
THESE ARE OUR NEIGHBORS. THEIR NAMES ARE NICE AND COCUBANZA.
THIS IS BEN. AS YOU CAN SEE, HE NOT THE MOM.
THIS IS BEN, CARLA, AND COCU. BEN STILL NOT THE MOM.
THIS IS PIPI. SHE IS TANZANIAN.