THIS POSITIVE LIFE! SO WHAT? LIVE LIFE

April 26th, 2011 by collins oduoduor

A True Life Story of Maurine living strong and healthy with HIV Virus, when she tested HIV positive Maurine of Nakuru Kenya scarcely had an idea what HIV meant. Now at 26, she is one of the foremost HIV activists in our town Nakuru and its environs.

Moureen during the interview

Moureen during the interview

She tested HIV positive in 2004 and she was only19 years old and now she is 26 years old having lived with the virus for 7 years. The reason she went for an HIV test was because she had been sick and bed ridden for about 2 years being treated for chest pains and thus her doctor at that particular time thought it prudent for her to go have a TB test. Due to the financial constraint that her family was going through having exezosted all the money her parents had saved in treating her for the 2 years that she had been bed ridden going for the test was not about to happen anytime soon. Luckily a friend of hers came in handy and as they say “a friend in need is a friend in deed” because he offered to bail her out by paying for her test at the provincial General hospitals laboratory. She was asked to go collect her results after 2 weeks and to her shocker the medics refused to hand over the results to her insisting that she should be accompanied by somebody and luckily on that particular day she was with her friend who was waiting for her at the waiting bay, so she went back and called him to accompany her and that’s only when the results were handed to her friend but only after her consent. it is Maurine’s friend who first told her about her being HIV positive and I bet this information came into his hands when he remained behind to talk to the Lab practioner and to her surprise her friend told her that he knew what she was going through because he also had been infected with HIV Virus and had lived with it for over 3years.

Moureen in action in a role play about HIV positive pregnant mothers and the stigma they face in the community

Moureen in action in a role play about HIV positive pregnant mothers and the stigma they face in the community

To her, at that time, not knowing her status was way much better of than knowing because according to her if she didn’t know, she dint have to deal with the pressures, due to luck of understanding and inappropriate information about the subject. You know, when things came up on TV about AIDS or HIV, when they talked about it in school, she kind of ran away from it. You know, cut the channel, cover her eyes, ’cause she was scared of the facts, she didn’t want to know the facts, she wanted to stay ignorant to the subject . . . because as long as she was ignorant to the subject, she thought, Okay, I’m fine

According to Maurine being diagnosed with AIDS was the moment she found her voice. It was a life-changing moment for her. Her voice came out and it came out powerfully. It was like the Spirit opened her eyes. She felt like all the things that happened to her — the journey that she walked, from the sexual abuse she experienced as a child to all that followed, including many risky activities — had to happen in order for her to get her voice, to jar her into action. This is what she talks about with women, and sexual active youths who are more vulnerable and all those already infected — that they need to find their voices and be able to say “NO TO STIGMATISATION” and say it powerfully.

Moureen in a yellow dress during Magnet Theatre Outreach

Moureen in a yellow dress during Magnet Theatre Outreach

By Joining REPACTED (Rapid Effective Participatory Action in Community Theatre Education and Development) in 2005 an organization based in Nakuru county that uses unique programs i.e. “MAGNET THEATRE” to engage the youth and community at large in activities that improve they knowledge, change they attitude and sharpen they skills in matters of positive sexual behavior change, Maurine found a reliable and appropriate forum/platform to launch her campaign and venture into public speaking ,with the help of Collins Oduor The project manager at REPACTED and other qualified competent peer educators and volunteers based at this organization. Maurine was able to over stand that she had a story that needed to be told, and with the strong network of peer educators and volunteers at REPACTED she was encouraged and reminded that positive youth need a voice. There is a lack of storytelling among the youth, and this is especially true with positive youth. They feel shame or guilt for contracting the virus and feel that they need to lie about it and not be upfront.

Moureen giving out condoms after a magnet theatre otreach at the informal workplace

Moureen giving out condoms after a magnet theatre otreach at the informal workplace

It’s important that young people are given a chance to tell their stories without being judged. Speaking really helped Maurine articulate herself as a person. It gave her a new direction to go in — not only is it inspirational to other people, but it inspired her to clean up her life and make something positive of herself. Joining REPACTED has affected her in a positive way emotionally. Maurine is a very strong person now because of it, more educated and more life-experienced than a lot of 26-year-olds because of it. On the other side, she has started feeling more supported and appreciated as she is able to branch out into different kinds of communities. Maurine thinks she is kind of a rare breed she is here with REPACTED to inspire people. “I’m here, I’m a woman, I’m HIV positive, and I’m living my life positively and normally.” It can happen! It can happen.

“HIV OUTREACH BEHIND THE BARS”

April 14th, 2011 by collins oduoduor
Georgia, Sarah, Louise and Sherry at the outreach

Georgia, Sarah, Louise and Sherry at the outreach

Hosting the MTV Staying alive team of Georgia, Sara, and Louise accepting to accompany us to one of our MTV Staying alive  outreach programs held at the Male and female Nakuru Prison holding penitentiary was a great honor and as I would put it she had the opportunity of seeing what REPACTED as an organization is doing in order to inform and impact information on the masses and the public at large on the critical issues and matters relating to HIV Aids and other related matters pertaining to health.

Louise enjpying herself by joining the inmates for a dance

Louise enjoying herself by joining the inmates for a dance

As some of us may not know our brothers and sisters holed up in the prisons blocks face a lot of stigmatization due to the factor that people in the outside world view them so negatively and have hasty generalization towards them and thus a lot of things that do happen in the outside world passes them without due regard to there contribution and opinion.

the team

the team

With this kind of visits to the Prisons, REPACTED which boosts of young, energetic, professional peer educators have a chance of passing relevant and useful information to the prisoners through what we refer to us “Magnet Theater”. Due to magnet theater natural pulling power, the regular performances are designed to get the prisoners talking about how there stay in prison may be fueling the epidemic and what according to them should be done in order to try and curb the spread and stigmatization of this deadly scourge called HIV Aids. And with this approach we urge people to replicate this venture and scale up this initiative for the benefit of our society at large and remember that “IF YOU ARE NOT INFECTED THEN YOU ARE AFFECTED”.

action time

action time

The Mr and Miss Red Ribbon 2010

November 29th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

MR. and MISS RED RIBBON, an annual beauty pageant   with a difference as it brings together people leaving with HIV and aids together to celebrate beauty and fight stigma.

Mr and Miss Red Ribbon

Mr and Miss Red Ribbon

Up to its D-Day it had taken two whole months of preparation as models were aided by designer Jackie Ogutu and model trainer Diana Abwajo; a phenomenon rare in the past events where they only had a model trainer but no stylists.

The event attracted a total of 20 model participants 12 of them being positive from various C.B.O that offer support to PLWH. It also attracted 4 guest performances from outside making the total number of participants to 24.

Uhuru  in one of the best design ARV

Uhuru in one of the best design ARV

With the theme; universal access and human rights served as a good build up activity to world aids day as with its mass of 400 people it made known the importance of getting tested, importance of abstinence ad uptake of reproductive health massages among many other massages passed by the costumes uniquely and creatively designed, beauty at its best to fight stigma in the greater Nakuru society.

Condoms on the run way

Condoms on the run way

On the run-way were models of different sizes not forgetting age ranging up to 52 years of age all in an aim to fight the ‘beast’ stigma with beauty as the strongest; personality, commitment and dedication to fight stigma not forgetting beauty carried the day as Daniel Mwangi and Fridah Abio were the overall winners of the event.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/video/video.php?v=202966303048512&comments

View photos @ http://repacted.wordpress.com/

Service at the door step

November 1st, 2010 by collins oduoduor

Perhaps the most ideal idea in community development is to reach out to the target population in their “catchment” area. One of the REPACTD’s greatest outreach programs is to reach out to the target population in the informal sector by visited them with community participatory discourses aimed at creating at ensuring that resource like condoms and sexual reproductive health information is available at the informal workplace.

Informal workpalce outreach program

Condom Demonstration

The magnet theater team engages the target population during the lunch break since that is the only available time to ensure that the people in the informal sector are served with the relevant services at their comfort zone. So as they struggle with a plate of a mixture of maize and beans and a cup of tea, that is the time to drive the message home. The theatre team is using every little available time to ensure that the target population gets the desired information at the workplace.

Magnet Theatre

M.T outreach in the community

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM)

May 19th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

THEME: MANY LIGHTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

Today we, together with many volunteers who host memorials worldwide for their communities commemorate the International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM). The IACM occurs on the 3rd Sunday of May. The memorial was started by people living with AIDS concurrently in San-Francisco and New York 1993 and it meant to honor all those who have been affected by the AIDS pandemic. As HIV/AIDS continue to impact communities around the world, the candlelight has become a way for communities to take action by publicly mourning their loved ones lost to AIDS and by strengthening local, national and international commitments to lighting the candle.

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

As MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, that is a symbol of solidarity of people living with AIDS, and as the coordinator of Badili Mawazo Self Help Group, I take this moment to share my sorrow, remember and honor my brothers, sisters and children who battled and lost the light against AIDS.
In Nakuru Kenya, this day was presided over by the Bishop of Nakuru Catholic Diocese, Bishop Maurice Muhatia of Holy-Cross Catholic Parish where volunteers and members of the neighboring community walked in with over 40 pieces of art with awareness messages, prevention management of HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

THE CANDLELIGHT ADVOCACY PLATFORM

The candlelight memorial is committed to ending HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and advocating for the advancement of effective policies at all level
The program has identified the following key issues areas, as its platforms around which it cultivates community advocacy through its events and activities.

REDUCING STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

Communities around the world affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly people living with the disease and other marginalized groups often face debilitating social stigma and discrimination simply because of their association with the virus, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urge leaders to light discrimination through protecting the Rights of affected groups and individuals and fostering an inclusive human environment of both support and opportunity.

ENSURE ACCESS OF TREATMENT, PREVENTION AND CARE
Poor or marginalized communities have little access to basic HIV/AIDS services, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to ensure communities have equal access to treatment (such as testing and anti-retroviral therapy), evidence based prevention (such as education) and care and support (such as counseling and hospice). This requires meeting the needs of the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), strengthening public health systems and vaccines development.

INCREASING RESOURCES FOR HIV/AIDS, MALARIA, TUBERCULOSIS AND OTHER RELATED ISSUES

DSC02642

The need for communities affected by HIV/AIDS, by far, outpace the current resources allocated to meet them, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to fulfill their commitment to adequately address the scope and depth of AIDS including other burdens accompanying or enhancing its spread (such as T.B, Malaria, sexually transmitted diseases and opportunistic infections) and other contributing social and economic challenges.

PROMOTING GIPA
Affected communities by HIV/AIDS are often neglected in the decision making processes that aim to assist them in the first place, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to incorporate the voices of the affected communities in formulation of policies as well as in the design and implementation of programs, their experiences and opinions are essential to the Global dialogue about the disease and this includes promoting the empowerment of women and youth. And as per the theme: MANY LIGHTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, dear world, I have faith that together we are the solution.

THANKS IN ADVANCE for your cooperation.

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM).

Mr. Red Ribbon

MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, PETER ONYANGO OKOLA.

International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM

May 19th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

THEME: MANY LIGHTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Today we, together with many volunteers who host memorials worldwide for their communities commemorate the International AIDS candlelight Memorial (IACM). The IACM occurs on the 3rd Sunday of May. The memorial was started by people living with AIDS concurrently in San-Francisco and New York 1993 and it meant to honor all those who have been affected by the AIDS pandemic. As HIV/AIDS continue to impact communities around the world, the candlelight has become a way for communities to take action by publicly mourning their loved ones lost to AIDS and by strengthening local, national and international commitments to lighting the candle.
As MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, that is a symbol of solidarity of people living with AIDS, and as the coordinator of Badili Mawazo Self Help Group, I take this moment to share my sorrow, remember and honor my brothers, sisters and children who battled and lost the light against AIDS.
In Nakuru Kenya, this day was presided over by the Bishop of Nakuru Catholic Diocese, Bishop Maurice Muhatia of Holy-Cross Catholic Parish where volunteers and members of the neighboring community walked in with over 40 pieces of art with awareness messages, prevention management of HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

THE CANDLELIGHT ADVOCACY PLATFORM
The candlelight memorial is committed to ending HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and advocating for the advancement of effective policies at all level
The program has identified the following key issues areas, as its platforms around which it cultivates community advocacy through its events and activities.

REDUCING STIGMA AND DISRIMINATION
Communities around the world affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly people living with the disease and other marginalized groups often face debilitating social stigma and discrimination simply because of their association with the virus, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urge leaders to light discrimination through protecting the Rights of affected groups and individuals and fostering an inclusive human environment of both support and opportunity.

ENSURE ACCESS OF TREATMENT, PREVENTION AND CARE
Poor or marginalized communities have little access to basic HIV/AIDS services, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to ensure communities have equal access to treatment (such as testing and anti-retroviral therapy), evidence based prevention (such as education) and care and support (such as counseling and hospice). This requires meeting the needs of the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), strengthening public health systems and vaccines development.

INCREASING RESOURCES FOR HIV/AIDS, MALARIA, TUBERCULOSIS AND OTHER RELATED ISSUES
The need for communities affected by HIV/AIDS, by far, outpace the current resources allocated to meet them, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to fulfill their commitment to adequately address the scope and depth of AIDS including other burdens accompanying or enhancing its spread (such as T.B, Malaria, sexually transmitted diseases and opportunistic infections) and other contributing social and economic challenges.

PROMOTING GIPA
Affected communities by HIV/AIDS are often neglected in the decision making processes that aim to assist them in the first place, I, MR. RED RIBBON KENYA, and the candlelight memorial urges leaders to incorporate the voices of the affected communities in formulation of policies as well as in the design and implementation of programs, their experiences and opinions are essential to the Global dialogue about the disease and this includes promoting the empowerment of women and youth. And as per the theme: MANY LIGHTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, dear world, I have faith that together we are the solution.
THANKS IN ADVANCE for your cooperation.

MR. RED RIBBON KENYA,
PETER ONYANGO OKOLA.

WORLD TB DAY

March 29th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

Hallo World this is a message from Mr. Red Ribbon – Kenya 2009/2010.

Mr Red Ribbon
Mr. Okola (Mr. Red Ribbon

World TB Day is an international event commemorated on the 24th March each year worldwide. This is an occasion where all organizations working in the field of TB. HIV/ AIDS comes together to share the challenges that do still face T.B and HIV/AIDS.

In Kenya this event was held in Nakuru the Headquarters of Rift Valle Province. Rift Valley is ranked number one in T.B infections followed closely by Nyanza Province. It is believed that T.B has been around since the beginning of mankind due to airborne transmission of transmission of droplet nuclear with T.B bacteria.

Mr. Red Ribbon
World TB Day

Dispute being curable in the vast majority of cases T.B is the leading cause of sickness and death among PLWHA. And my view at this point is that , donors and health programs that fail to address T.B as part of HIV/AIDS services do miss the opportunity to impact the disease and most likely to kill PLWHA in developing countries around the world.

Okola
Mr Red Ribbon during the World TB Day

Responding to the threat posted by T.B , HIV co-infection requires integrate service delivery and co-ordination between T.B and HIV programs to endemic countries. However evening countries with high burden of disease, T.B and HIV programs have tended to operate independently addressing T.B and HIV in isolation and this paving way for STIGMA and DISCRIMINATION. So my humble request to the whole world is that, “ Let each and every person go for both T.B and HIV screening….”. and here I do shout a loud voice and you should also assist me to “STOP” Stigmatizing and Discriminating those who have Tested Positive. Let us live in LOVE and harmony giving each other HOPE for we all belong to one GOD.

ENOCK GEKARA – Community Member Free Area

March 15th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

There before when they used to sing here at this center I took them as jokers but my friends who attended their activity told me that they were now informed. During their next visit to our area I got informed about the danger of having many sexual partners and that it was risky. I do take alcohol with my friends and sometimes we have even shared the same woman at night after our drinking at the bars here. Condom is something I think was for coward men and condom is not something I usually use all the time it depends on who am sleeping with, if it is someone I know and they don’t ask me to use it so I do not. I have a wife who comes and goes because of family trouble and I am forced to look for women here who are easy. I was informed through the acting by the actors about the risks and signs of sexual transmitted diseases in their drama, people of the community talked with them and I also got the information about syphilis and gonorrhea. I was told by one of them how I can protect myself from it and what to do when I am infected. I have not had syphilis or gonorrhea and I am lucky. When the again came here they acted about alcohol and risk of getting infected when someone is drank and I felt they were talking to me alone. I together with some friends was shown how to use condoms correctly.

My life has change I now have no fear of anything because I was give condoms to use and I have gone for VCT two times now. The second time I went with my wife to VCT so that she can know that I am ok because she has found me before with another woman and now she is happy. Before we could fight at night because she wanted me to use a condom but I did not want and that is why she leaves. We have also attended a community show with her to show her where I have got the information.

It is now ok for me to drink a little and go home, I see the friends of mine do that every day and they say that the actors have help them live a responsible life now. I have also told one friend of mine to go to hospital to see a doctor about the pain he has under there because it could a sexual one.

Today I am careful and want to take care of my family because of the danger I know from the teachings of the actors.

STEVE WACHIRA – PEER EDUCATOR Kinyozi (baraber)

March 15th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

I was approached by Mr. Collins Oduor and Mr. Christopher Alaro from REPACTED – Kenya who informed me of the need and importance of me becoming a peer educator. I was reluctant, but having told me about the people visiting my barber shop and I would be in a better position to inform them about health related issues, I did agree on being trained, and also me being one of the members of this community who are extremely lacking in knowledge about HIV/AIDs. During the training I was informed on modes of STI’s/STD’s, HIV/AIDS transmission and also TB and felt that I also was at risk. Looking at my life style (I do have a wife and a girlfriend who I am not sure whether she has a man of her own) and my peers in my community I was compelled to even go for VCT which was conducted during the training. I now attend VCT clinic in my area since every 3 months. With my wife I would not use condoms during sexual intercourse because she would suspect me for being unfaithful, but with my girl friend I could use condoms sometime to avoid her getting pregnant during her bad days, I got it from this training that this was a risky behavior and would have to change in order to be safe and save my family too.

During the start of my work as a peer educator, I did engage my clients and other youth who pass by to read the newspapers since I buy them on a regular basis in conversations on STI’s/STD’s and HIV/AIDS prevention. Many were reluctant to use condoms as a way of prevention due to their knowledge that condoms had holes in them; some felt that they would rather use two condoms at the same time with a person they felt was not safe enough. Having shared this and using the information I took from the training I was able to convince them on proper use of condoms and ways of disposing them. VCT was a no go zone for most of them because they were afraid that it could be the end of their lives and if people in the community would know that they were positive they would be rejected. I told them that knowing one’s status would encourage them to live a better life by being careful. During a VCT conducted in Free Area AIC church I informed them about it and I was accompanied by six members of the community to get tested. Thereafter I have received several calls from them asking me to get those condoms and I have also asked REPACTED – Kenya to get me a condom dispenser which I have put in my kinyozi where they can easily collect them.

I have one of my clients who though he was HIV positive but later told me after visiting VCT that he was not but was asked to visit Provincial General Hospital to get checked for TB which he was found to have and is currently under medication.

Developing Story

January 28th, 2010 by collins oduoduor

Following the colorful and competitive Mr. and Miss Red Ribbon 2009 held on 29 Nov at Hotel Bontana pool side, followed by crowing and awarding of the Mr. and Miss Red Ribbon 2009 on 1 Dec 2009 (World Aids Day) at the Kenyatta Conference Centre by the Minister of Special Programs Dr. Naomi Shaban, the models are back in action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdKsN3EbYvQ,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PKL2DuoErE, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr5PmA9ryEs
Through integrated approaches REPACTED is coordinating an ambitious program that is expected to actualize expectations of the models. To start, the models will be introduced to the basics of communication before being introduced to blogging.

Alongside community outreaches by the models REPACTED will conduct a monthly meeting with the 35 models. Introducing the 35 models to blogging is a process that requires some consent due to the health status of the models. We are thinking of starting with activities aimed at setting a rapport with the models before organizing for a training on blogging.

The main goal of the initiative is to introduce more positive bloggers in the blog-sphere so that some issues related to health and HIV affecting the models can be shared without involving the third party who have always taken advantage of the situation. REPACTED will post the initial progress of the ideas before decentralizing the information to individual bloggs.

If you have any ideas on how we can improve the idea please don’t keep it, share it with us.