Like the program helping Rose, that young farmers group is a community-based effort to fight AIDS and care for people living with AIDS. In both cases, these are LWR partnerships at work. Are they doing what Jesus would do?
Would Jesus do anything else? He might well compare the situation in Senegal and Kenya and take drastic action. In Senegal people are mobilized against AIDS; about 1.5 percent of the population is HIV-positive. In Kenya the nation is mired in denial; local infection rates have soared as high as 38 percent.
Could Senegal's methods work in Kenya? Certainly, but with much adaptation and effort. There are signs of hope, including other projects related to LWR there. But beating AIDS is an enormous challenge in both places.
The virus works its way along fault-lines in individual and societal behavior. HIV thrives most where men have power over women and where lots of poor people have only a few ways to make even a little money. The two stories above are personal, yet they help explain the big picture too.
To echo the name of the current inter-Lutheran campaign, Jesus would certainly stand with Africa. He would also sit with it, walk with it, work with it, weep with it and rejoice with it, too.
When we help keep a loving arm around Rose, we stand with Africa. When we help make it possible for mothers to keep food in the house and never have to sell themselves again, we stand with Africa. When more and more people learn how AIDS is spread and all the ways to stop it, we stand with Africa too.
What else would Jesus do? What else would you do?
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Other Articles of Interest:
Standing With Africa
by LWR President, Kathryn Wolford
"The Reality of HIV/AIDS in Africa"
An article written by Asenath Omwega, LWR Regional Representative East Africa
Stand With Africa: A Campaign of Hope?
Written by Cathie DeGonia, Stand With Africa Campaign Communication Coordinator
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