Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reflection from Duhimbarwe Lionel, Global Justice Volunteer

From July 3 to July 11, 2011, young people from across Africa gathered together in Nairobi, Kenya, to prepare for their eight-week term as Global Justice Volunteers (GJV). Through the GJV program, young adults live and learn with communities that are seeking justice in our world today. GJV is a program of the Mission & Evangelism Program Area and Women's Division of Global Ministries.

In the 2011 Global Justice Volunteers Africa Program, young adults are volunteering with three organizations in Kenya seeking justice around issues related to HIV/AIDS. Below is a reflection from Duhimbarwe Lionel (Burundi) following the orientation and training:

Duhimbarwe Lionel (left) with Bishop Daniel Wandabula
of the East Africa Annual Conference
Photo: Gabriel G. Mungai

Before I got to the one week of training at the Methodist Guesthouse and Conference Centre, GJV was somehow strange to me. I didn't know before what exactly we would have to do. But when we started the training, day by day, I began to understand that we, as GJVs, are called to show love and fight against injustice by helping persons affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS.

Because I haven't worked with people living with HIV/AIDS, I was before embarrassed because I was wondering how to work with them, until we went and visited persons affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS in Korogocho, one of Nairobi's slums. I came from there convinced that God has called me to work with persons living with HIV/AIDS, even in these six short weeks. I live about 800 meters from a hospital in my country, Burundi, but I didn't even pay attention to persons living with HIV/AIDS, and I realize now that they are often neglected and stigmatized by their family and the community….

This one week gave me the opportunity to live in harmony with others from different countries and cultures. It has been a big experience. All that has assured me that I didn't come for nothing. I'm here to bring my experience back home and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, for a generation free from HIV/AIDS.

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