This year on December 1st, World AIDS Day, Peace Corps sponsored an initiative to paint murals all over Burkina while teaching children and adults about HIV/AIDS and the methods of prevention. After the seminars, the people present would make a promise to live a healthy lifestyle by practicing the methods of prevention as well as accept those people who are living with HIV in their community. (As I mentioned last year, around 67% of the people in the world living with HIV live in Sub-Saharan Africa and the culture here is not welcoming at all of those who have the disease.) Once they took the promise, the children would then put their hands in paint and then against the mural to signify and help them remember that they took their pledge.
Speaking of HIV/AIDS, my cousin Samantha participated in an amazing fundraiser (Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up) to donate money to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS and had the chance to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro last September. You can check out her experiences on her blog by clicking here.
Here are some pictures of our AIDS Day activity. Photo credits: Scott
Since neither Luis, Scott nor I possess any great skills as a painter, we decided to hire a local painter to help us with the stencil. Here, Luis and Scott are hard at work while the painter applies a 2nd coat to the wall.
Here the painter removes the stencil which reads that the town I live in is committing itself to the struggle against AIDS.
We asked some Burkinabe friends to lead the seminars for us since their French sexual reproduction vocabulary is much stronger than ours. We did two seminars and this is from the second which is why there are handprints already on the wall.
Luis demonstrates how to properly apply a condom.
At the end of the seminar, the kids take the pledge to lead a healthy lifestyle and accept those living with HIV/AIDS.
After the pledge, the kids put their hand in paint and then press their palm on the wall.
This is the wall at the end of the day after the 2 seminars.
Pictured are (back row) Luis, Scott and I with (front row) some kids who made the pledge.
Myself and Peace Corps (though not officially) thank you for paying your taxes and giving us the opportunity to educate about 130 children on the subject of HIV who, otherwise, probably never would have received that knowledge.