Fr Elphege Quenum SJ from Benin writes: “Together for future AIDS-free generations.” This is how we can sum up two meetings organised by AJAN in Nairobi from 14 to 19 June and 20 to 24 June. The programmes were organised in the context of AJAN’s tenth anniversary, and mobilised Jesuits and their co-workers in the battlefield against the terrorist virus of HIV.
The first meeting was about the AHAPPY programme. The second was about the need to incorporate mainstreaming in all our activities, organisations and communities. With these two meetings, AJAN took a decisive step forward in its 10-year journey to promote life, life well lived, and life to the full.
Br Alain Ragueneau PFE from Kenya writes: “These five days of seminar with AJAN have been a great experience for me. It was a pleasure to meet again Fr Michael Czerny who I welcomed in Kangemi 10 years ago. It has been said that synergy and collaboration have a greater impact than the sum of individual activities. To share with so many young and less young Jesuits from all over the continent gave me hope, strength and another image of the Society of Jesus and the Church. They are in very different kinds of institutions but at the grassroots level and in direct contact with the Body of Christ that is suffering from HIV/AIDS.
More and more we are told that HIV/AIDS is a disease among others but our experience shows that this is not exactly the case because of a stigma that is still high. At the meeting, I was challenged to start HIV mainstreaming not outside but within my own Congregation and parish.
“Integration” is also a challenge and an opportunity to open our eyes to other realities. In Uzima, the HIV/AIDS programme of Kangemi Parish in Nairobi, we plan to be more active in the fight against gender-based violence and in support for couples who have left their village, extended family and with them a good part of their traditions.
A GREAT THANKS to Fr Paterne and all the participants.
In the photo, Br Alain (left) and Fr Elphege at the AJAN mainstreaming meeting