David Jamieson, chief interviewer.

Now for a little summary of things so far from my perspective.

On the 9th we were able to use the independence day celebrations as a time for us to travel but also to reflect on what is happening in Uganda right now.

In the President’s speech to celebrate 51 years of the end of British colonial rule he spoke of the advances in health, such as the progress of the immunisation programme and reduction of infant mortality but no mention of the work that is being done and needs to be done to tackle the cruel ravages of HIV/AIDS. This is surprising as the country has made massive inroads into the spread of HIV.

We laughed at one of the Ugandan newspapers, Red Pepper’s  coverage of more salacious stories, but could not help reflect how they seemed to glorify in unprotected sex and the joy of multiple partners.  Not exactly in line with the messages we are trying to promote!

What was a pure delight during our coaching sessions was to hear the children sing in their native language -songs of hope and enthusiasm for Uganda and their future. However the real music to our ears was to hear songs into which  the teachers had encompassed the HIV/AIDS  ABC message  that made our chants sound so mundane!

The lack of coverage of HIV/AIDS in the media and at the celebrations on the 9th are in sharp contrast to the excellent work being done in all the many schools with which we have had contact in the last 14 days. The ABC message is very strong and the teachers delighted in seeing how the fun of playing cricket could be woven into the health messages. Sometimes you need a visitor from Mars to help you evaluate what you are doing and although England isn’t quite so far away, CWB does give encouragement and support to the local teachers in their work to combat HIV.

Also, I spoke to some of the older boys aged 16-18 and was much encouraged by their approach. Good to hear a 17- year-old boy say he wanted to stay a virgin until he met the right girl. Strong ‘B’ message here!  An 18-year-old made a good point in that the local community knowing you are HIV positive wouldn’t do much for your future love life. A pragmatic approach that may have more impact than any other on young men with their raging hormones in overdrive!!

One other clever young guy said of the 2040 vision for the future of Uganda could not be built by a people drained by AIDS!!

Let’s keep going guys!!  A long journey consists of thousands of small steps.