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AJAN’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in Bangui, Central African Republic

After the vibrant celebration of the 20th anniversary of AJAN in Bujumbura, the Spirit of Pentecost breathed as far as Bangui, joy contaminated the Education and Listening Information Center of the Catholic University Center of Bangui (CIEE/CCU).” Indeed, this Sunday, June 12, 2022, the Peer Educators of the CIEE/CCU have entered the momentum of thanksgiving that animates AJAN. 

They joined the Christian community of the CCU in praising the Lord for his wonders accomplished during these 20 years of commitment to the fight against AIDS, education and youth awareness through the CIEE. This celebration allowed the Peer Educators to become aware that they are ambassadors of a network that goes beyond the Central African Republic and will have to work to represent it with dignity by embodying its ideals. The sense of community of spirit and action is what must animate them. Father Maurice Manamba, SJ, the superior of the Jesuits in Bangui stressed in his homily that the Holy Trinity is community, union and unity in love and action. To better form community, we need the grace of the Holy Trinity.  This grace makes our actions more effective and transformative.

At the end of the Mass, the Christian faithful had the opportunity to visit the exhibition stands of the 14 Health Info Club (CIS) of the CIEE, and exchange with the Peer Educators.  The latter shared their experiences in the pair education, awareness activities. They did not lack creativity to share the essential content of their AHAPPY reference document.

A mock trial on discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) was made by the Peer Educators of CIS 8 who are mostly law students. Through the accused in this trial, each of us is challenged in his attitude and behavior towards people sick with AIDS or any other pathology that runs the risk of being marginalized from society. The duty of respect for the dignity of all without any excuse was at the heart of the trial. The victim in this trial wore the image of the dejected faces of people reclusive in silence, who suffer from not being seen by others as human beings deserving to live happily. The lawyers of both have not lacked arguments to defend their client. But the sentence of the president of the court was impartial to serve as an example to anyone who ventured to defame a person’s name because of his state of health. It was with admiration that the crowd applauded the talent of these young lawyers who made us live the climate of a real trial.

Fr. Charles Bèterbèteon SOMDA, SJ takes a photo together with the 3 winners of the AJAN Young Talent Competition.

The 03 winners of the AJAN Young Talent Competition presented, at the same time, the content of their different editorial offices, before receiving their various prizes with the congratulations of the CIEE/CCU Coordinator and the acclamation of the public. The intervention of Father Paterne MOMBE, SJ (former director of AJAN) allowed the public to better know AJAN, its origins, its vision and its mission. He praised the commitment of the Peer Educators of the CIEE/CCU and encourages them to stand firm in their convictions as ambassadors to the Central African youth, by disseminating the knowledge acquired from the network and by testifying through their lives and actions.

The ceremony ended with the anniversary greetings of the CIEE/CCU in AJAN under the dance steps to the traditional Central African rhythm.

Nzoni Matanga AJAN!  Nzapa bata a mo! Happy birthday AJAN! May the Lord bless you!

-Charles Bèterbèteon SOMDA, SJ

CIEE/CCU Coordinator, Bangui-RCA

Ismael Matambura

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