Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

I am AIDS, I kill

On Friday we wrapped up a week’s training with a new group of AIDS home-based caregivers. I had some things I had to do and it was still a two hour’s drive (on the gravel road and in rain) to reach Jerusalem, the place where the training had taken place. On arrival I found the group of 32 people all present. But apart from them, there were also about eight community leaders who had decided to attend the last day’s training, as a sign of solidarity with the people who will in future be taking care of the sick at their homes and also to encourage them. Amongst these were two Members of Parliament who also came to encourage these workers.
The newly trained people had prepared a short sketch to demonstrate how they would go about visiting someone in the final stages of AIDS and what they would do to help her. The “patient” was incredibly realistic, even to the point of seeming to want to vomit when the “caregivers” were trying to “feed” her, which led to a lot of laughter from those of us who were watching.
When they were finished, a woman, Elsie Mavimbela, stood up. She read us two poems that she had written. Poetry isn’t really something that I have linked to the Swazis before. Perhaps that is the reason why these two poems had such an impact on myself. The first one:

I am AIDS, I Kill

I do not care who you are
I do not consider your status
Whether you are ugly or beautiful
I kill

Everyone must be aware of me
Some say I am not there
But I know myself
I am there
I kill

Those who say I am not there
are mistaken
I am AIDS
I kill

To the youth I give a word of warning
It seems to you that people are joking
when they say I am there
Watch out
otherwise you will follow others that followed me
I kill
I kill
I am AIDS

The second poem was written as a sort of tribute to thank the people of our church who had come to train the new group. The name of our church is the Swaziland Reformed Church. However, neither the woman who wrote the poem nor any of the others who had undergone the training are members of our church, which perhaps make this poem quite remarkable:

The Small Tree

Oh my dear Swaziland Reformed Church
You are a small tree with sweet fruit
that everyone need to eat
But your fruit is not enough for everyone

Oh my dear small tree
Plant your seeds for everyone in Swaziland
Those who did not know your tree
They will approach you because your fruit are more sweet

Grow up tree with your sweet fruit
Grow up for everyone
With your name
Swaziland Reformed Church

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Monday, October 22, 2007 - Posted by | Celebration, Church, Culture, Death, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Hope, Mission, Swaziland

1 Comment »

  1. For once I am at a loss for words. Beautiful. Just Beautiful.

    Comment by Maya | Monday, October 22, 2007 | Reply


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