Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A little lesson on a BIG issue

Greetings Friends,

Today was quite the learning experience for dear ol' Drew.

We had a workshop in Kennington at St. Paul's church with LEAT, which stands for the London Ecuminical Aids Trust, and they educated us all about HIV and AIDS.

At first I was a bit skeptical and feared that this might be another-well natured and honest try-attempt at working something out for service learning; only ending up like the previous meetings and being a waste of time. Luckily, I was mistaken and I learned quite a bit.

Our workshop was led by a friendly man, named David who was originally from Zimbabwea ,but now works with LEAT and Steve ,who is the director of LEAT. We learned about the basics of AIDS; how its transferred,myths about how it can be transferred,the stages it comes in and what we can do to prevent it. At one point, I was about ready to bust out the mediator whistle because a couple of the participants were getting a bit debatey about wether or not HIV and AIDS is the same thing, the jury is still out on that decision and it really depends who you ask and how you look at it. In this kids opinion,they're different. Seeing as HIV is just the virus (thus the V in the name) but AIDS is the actual syndrome (thus the S) and what people have when they eventually die, not from AIDS,but from such things as the common cold,which would have been killed by the bodies immune system, which is no longer there due to AIDS.

Either way, it was rather interesting, just talking and listening to a persons first hand experience living with HIV. As a global citizen and someone who doesn't live under a rock. I've always known HIV/AIDS was out there,but it was something I didn't ever have to deal with and encounter. So it was rather eye opening seeing how big it really is and what exactly it does to the human body.

I was rather intrigued by the fact that in the UK they have NO rule,forboading gays or "men who have had sex with another man since 1977" from donating blood. Seeing as in the states, we do and I had my own personal encounter with that rule (See Blood donations needed, but not from all - Perspectives for the full story). I think its also important to note, seeing as society currently portrays HIV/AIDS as a "gay disease" that in the UK at least, there are more heterosexuals with the virus/syndrome than homosexuals.

We finally took a break from our educational endeavour to fill our tummies with a delicious, home cooked African meal for lunch, which included: rice,beans,fish,meat,potatoes,bread and fruit.

After lunch we watched a presentation of sorts which was made of dancing,singing,acting and a power point , given to us by a group called WAIT, which is a teen group that goes around educating people about HIV and AIDS,through their Abstinance Only message. While I can't say it was altogether educational or that I learned things I didn't already know. It was entertaining to watch and listen I give the kids props for going out and having the guts to perform in front of strangers by supporting a worthy cause!

After the busy and mentally stimulating day(we started at 10 and finished at 4)! We headed back to the flat.

Chelsea and I grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to "Theatre 503" to meet with Gene and Sarah and see the current show they are doing " The Last Shot". However, when we arrive Sarah informs us that the show is actually sold out and they already have a reserve list 10 names long, but they'd try to squeeze us in if they could. We weren't too worried and went and met with Steve, who is the Lit. director of the company and visited with him. Since Theatre 503, focuses on new works, they are constantly recieving new plays from all over and part of the process in screening them is having people read them. SO, Steve gave us a couple scripts to read through and make notes about and see how it is, making that our first official assignment for "Theatre 503".

We ended up NOT getting to see the show, but we visited more with Sarah, just about the theatre and where they need help and when we can start. We also got put on the list for Thursday's show, so we will DEFINITALLY be seeing it then and we actually start our volunteering on Thursday as well. So, it looks like a whole day at the theatre, just like back at Simpson. :D

After that, we came back to the flat and its been a night of tv watching, chit chatting and internet surfing.

Hope all is well for you!


1 comment:

mustang_s45 said...

Lost a good friend to AIDS...it is a devasting disease.. alot more awareness is needed. sally