Pauline Wanjau, coordinator of the AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Program for Youth (AHAPPY), went to the Magis Experience in Zimbabwe as a resource person.
It was an experience where the heart and mind were interlocked to live in the moment. The experience was that of true accompaniment for those who have lost hope and meaning of life, and also for all of us, to reflect on our own lives and to see them as a gift.
Every time we sat in the Magis Circle there was a feeling of accomplishment. This time at the end of the day brought together the whole group and each member had a chance to share their highs and lows, and what had been learned.
AHAPPY gave a chance for reflection at the end of each unit. This helped the group members, because there was so much to experience each day, and I realised how much we can lose if we refuse to reflect on what has passed.
The group was diverse but brought together by a common goal: being there for others. We all made sure we made a difference each day. Whether it was after meals when we had to clean the tables and do the dishes at the residence, whether it was at Mashambanzou when we cleaned windows and sat and chatted with the patients, all amounted to love and care.
Being at Mashambanzou and hearing the stories of some of the patients, I felt there was so much to thank God for and also so much I can do. I especially thanked God for the little boy whose mother was in a terminal stage of her illness but who himself was born HIV-negative and healthy.
It was like watching death and life all in the same place. The Magis HIV experience cannot be put in words but it was felt. The touch of genuine love and care was expressed and felt by those we tried to accompany in our one-week experience. The same touch left a mark in our hearts, reminding us of our purpose in life to live for others. Even the simplest act of care or love is big enough in God’s eyes. That was my Magis moment.