A chance spotting of a sign directing people to “Surface Uganda”, an AIDS victims support agency in Gulu, led to participation in testing day of a team of street children being supported by volunteers from Surface Uganda. One of these children tested HIV positive out of 80 tested in total by TASO. A volunteer from Surface Uganda will now act in loco parentis to this boy who is aged around 15 and sexually active. Following counselling by TASO at which the SU mentor was present the boy will begin ARV treatment within the next few days and his progress will be monitored by Surface Uganda.
The 25 street children participated in the Testing Day accompanied by 4 volunteer mentor/counsellors who actively joined in the initial basic skills training and then in matches against the 8 school teams at the festival. At first these street children, who sleep under street verandas, scavenging rubbish for food and collecting plastic bottles for a pitiful cash return, were nervous and shy in the presence of so many local school children and we had to work hard to keep them engaged. However as the cricket captivated them and each child was given a CWB t-shirt (a master-stroke by the Project Tutor) they gained in confidence and participated enthusiastically under the team name Favour which meant to them “loved and cared for”.
We split the festival into two in order to engage the maximum number of children. At another venue 2 team members played rapid-fire with some 80 children so in all almost 150 children took part across the two festivals.
To date we have tested 230 children and identified three who were HIV positive and are now on treatment pathways with strong emotional and psychological support.
Later in the day we had a hot and bumpy drive to Lira. Joseph, as ever, got us there in good heart.
Surface Uganda took a CWB banner to display in their office and some basic cricket kit for use by the 200 street children who regularly visit. See the surfaceuganda.org website for their report of today’s activities.