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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kabonesa's Story

This is the title of a short booklet that was recently translated into Lubwisi by the literacy project associated with the Wycliffe/SIL Bible translation work. It tells the story of a young girl whose father dies of AIDS, and how she helps her pregnant mother and then siblings. The format of a story, with simple line-drawing pictures, is an effective tool to bring up all sorts of issues: stigma, the response of the church, medical facts, family dynamics, the emotional side of HIV infection. For most of last week the literacy workers held a workshop, largely populated by people living with HIV/AIDS, to teach them to read and use the book for community education. The hope is that dialogue will combat rumor and misinformation, and encourage testing and care. And that the Gospel will be what it is: good news, that life has come, that death is reversed. And that the process will promote READING in general, and the use of the indigenous language in particular, to speak to peoples' hearts and give them value. A tall order for a slim booklet!

The week culminated with a plane-load of media, as Christian Broadcasting Network, Moody Radio, and Wycliffe sent in a team to interview people, film songs and dance, and generally lend a stamp of approval and admiration for the work that is being done. We played only a minor chauffeur and communication role to enable the real stars, the literacy workers and the people struggling to survive with HIV, shine. Still it was fun to watch from the side lines and to catch the sense of hope!

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