There was supposed to be a large rally today of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). I don't think it's going to happen. Somehow I don't think the government would take it too kindly if 1000 people marched through the main street in town today.
I believe the rally was being sponsored by PLACA (Plateau State Action Committee on AIDS). We are a member of that organization.
This is the first year that we had really planned in advance for the event. In October, my colleague Sarah and I started making plans to print a t-shirt for the event. This is what it says:
Front: Mashiah Foundation
Changing the story
Back: I'm Positive
Life goes on
We found a local printer who is really dedicated to quality work. I'm very happy with the sample he showed me. He was supposed to deliver 150 shirts to us on Friday at 1 p.m., but I guess something delayed him (see previous posts). Anyway, it's not a loss; it's going to be our uniform for the next year. We just thought today was a great kick-off day for our message.
The "Life goes on" theme is on our product tag now along with a picture of two HIV+ women sharing a joke. I'm thrilled with the double meaning of "I'm Positive. Life goes on" and "I'm positive life goes on." There is a big red ribbon on the back of the t-shirt which is associated with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
When many of our women were first diagnosed with HIV, they assumed death was imminent. Now they have been living for years by properly managing the disease with anti-retroviral drugs. Earning money through the sewing program has alleviated their main stress of 'how do I feed my family?'
I'm anxious to see the women we work with and find out how they are faring after the Jos riots. I anticipate there will be a lot of relief needs.