I keep a file on my desktop labeled “Blogress” – shortened from “Blogs in Progress” – where I store half-baked ideas for things I want to post about. Today, while trawling through it, looking for something that could fill my latest blogging void with minimal effort, I found this write-up of an event I did last year. Oops! Sorry about the delay; mea culpa kabisa. Please enjoy.


Every year, World AIDS Day is on December 1. Here in Kenya, most World AIDS Day events are government-sponsored affairs with various community stakeholders giving speeches, performing dramas, and encouraging the community to seek counseling and testing. I attended my regional event in Malindi. It was smaller than I had anticipated, but I found it interesting nonetheless and helped to mobilize people to get tested for HIV. I was also tested myself – as ALL people should on a regular basis, regardless of whether they consider themselves “at risk” – which was an interesting experience.

This was not, however, the only W.A.D. event I attended. I also went into the heart of inland Coast Province to my friend DeAnne’s small village to attend her pre-World AIDS Day mobilization event. Honestly, it was more fun and exciting than the one at the district level. Held the weekend before, it included dramas, poetry readings, a rap competition, and the women of the community doing a soccer goal shoot-out contest thing (I somehow got stuck keeping goal, which actually turned out to be a ton o’ fun. I bravely defended against some vicious, snarling old ladies with their barefoot soccer magic. Watch your back, Ronaldo. These village Mamas are coming for you.) The ineffable Lorenzo was on hand to talk nurse-type things and demonstrate his bicycle-powered corn dekernalizer. We had a small army of substance abuse counselors, peer health educators, and trained HIV testers to provide a variety of services to all comers. Despite being in a really tiny village, hundreds of people showed up. It was a very, very good day.

Children preparing to participate in the Mobilization Procession, wherein people parade through the village with signs/puppets/banners/drums/noisemakers/etc to let everyone know the event is happening and about to start.

Our banner! (Courtesy of PEPFAR)

What could catch peoples’ attention better than a giant terrifying puppet woman?

I only let three goals in – woo! Not bad for someone who hasn’t played soccer in … um … a rather long time.