by Sam

A day of two halves

The team split today, with Clare and myself heading off to the Ministry of Health, whilst the rest of the team hit the road to Kanye.

The walk to Main Mall, where the government buildings are located, was a pleasant 45 minutes, ending in Africa Mall, where there are lots of stalls selling baskets, carvings, textiles and music.

Once we located the MoH buildings, we were then fortunate to meet the lovely Heather, who gave us lots of information and a great contact in charge of Behaviour Change Information Communication, Elizabeth Koko.

Heather was very positive about the effect of AIDS/HIV awareness programmes, and said that their figures were showing a definite decrease in the infection rate of younger children. She was encouraging about the work we are doing with this age group, and felt that it was important to talk with Mma Koko, so that we could align our messages with what the department is doing, and the 2016 strategy.

During the visit we also learned some interesting messages the MoH provide around the ‘A’ from the ABCs (Abstinence) including some hard hitting facts, key messages around the benefits of abstinence, challenges faced when abstaining from sex and the all important myths cleared up such as ‘men who abstain from sex are prone to prostate cancer’. The good news is lots is being done and we will certainly be looking to work with the MoH going forward.

After our meeting at the Ministry, we headed off to the SOS Childrens’ Village in Tlokweng, to drop off some clothes and make an appointment to come back and play some cricket with the children and staff.

SOS provides accommodation, healthcare and education to orphaned, destitute, and abandoned children, and when we arrived, we were greeted by the very charming 5 year old Angela, who decided quite firmly that she was going to be our friend and official guide.

After checking in with the ladies at reception (and booking a return visit on 28th April), Angela decided it was time for us to play, so off we went to play some catching games. One lovely young lady, Olepolotse, was particularly keen to play cricket, and showed really good catching skills, so we’ll be watching out for her when we come back!

It’s a strange phenomenon, but giving a small gift to one child has the effect of multiplying the child tenfold, and we were very soon engulfed by a gaggle of 30 youngsters all eager for a balloon or a crayon. Even some postcards I’d had printed to raise sponsorship were eagerly snatched up, so I will definitely be bringing lots more out next time!

We are so looking forward to going back, and will report in due course…