A message from the AJAN Director, Fr Elphège Quenum SJ (pictured above, in the middle)
On 23rd June 2017, AJAN celebrated its 15th anniversary. It has been 15 years since Jesuits and their co-workers started trying to link together to face the challenges of HIV and AIDS. Bringing together their individual experiences for mutual enhancement, they form a network, a family, to protect and safeguard life. They strive to build a body which, when united, is strong against a threatening and destructive enemy. I quote Fr Fratern Masawe SJ, Assistant to the Jesuit Superior General:
“With HIV and AIDS, the full cycle of life is broken. We see men and women dying before their children, and without their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. This situation gives Africans as well as all men and women of goodwill a timely opportunity, as our ancestors would say, to consider our relationships with one another and with God. It is time to evaluate community services, our care-giving facilities and ways in which we can reinforce the vital force; how to educate one another in order to enhance the life span as much as possible to the full cycle.”
The celebration was an opportunity to share about the efforts, concerns, joys, and hopes of Jesuits and co-workers bound together to promote the wellbeing of African peoples. It was a moment of sharing experiences that demonstrate a healing presence, a way of proceeding, a style, and a spirituality that is human-centred.
The celebration unfolded in a scenario of contradictions, where good news and bad news were intertwined. While more and more materials, tools, and treatments are available to nourish hope, there is also a decline in interest and resources, which is preventing the poorest nations and people from receiving quality services. In some areas, AIDS is no longer a problem; in others, it remains a heavy burden on society.
AJAN grasped the opportunity of this event to express once more its will to continue the battle until we attain an AIDS-free society – to remain linked for life until the end!