Treatment/Prevention/Performance

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Andy returns to Uganda

I am returning to Uganda in East Africa to take part in a Sport and HIV/AIDS project.

As the project heading shows, there is two elements to the project

1. To give children and adults the chance to become a child for a day!

2. HIV/AIDS testing and education

 1. To give children and adults the chance to become a child for a day!

What do I mean by this?

Like many parts of Africa, children are responsible from a very early age to help either look after other children, go and fetch the water from the well or help in the fields with the crops or animals.

Often these children never get the chance to be children. They never the chance to play or have fun. These children then grow up and become adults where they get families of their own and develop the increased responsibilities of providing for their own families now.

Teams4U Sports Projects offers both children and adults to have fun for a day. They put on fun sporting activities which maybe from running races or shuttle races to netball or football skills sessions. The important part is that everyone has fun and gets to smile for the day.

To continue with the fun theme, Teams4U, leave sporting equipment and kit behind once we leave allowing these communities to repeat those fun times whenever they want.

2. HIV/AIDS testing and education

With being involved in this project for several years I have seen it develop from a member of our team mentioning to the adults who attended the project to be aware of the disease, that it is present and it can be spread to others if not diagnosed too now a full testing and counseling service.

The sports project brings communities together to take part. The idea was that while they were there they could also get HIV/AIDS tested and if were diagnosed as positive they could be given counseling and given the correct anti-viral medication.

This is why the project is so unique and why I support it every year. Those volunteers who give up their holidays and spare time to join with me are what makes this work. We have a passion to provide actual support and that’s what makes the project and Teams4U’s philosophy so worthwhile.

Appeal

1. Sports kit

http://www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Hosgood

I could write loads more but I ask you to find 10 minutes exploring the Teams4U website www.teams4u.com see all the other wonderful projects they also do.

I would like to show they good work by two stories of my experiences.

Lucky’s Story

Two years ago, I was fortunate to be working in an excellent team of volunteers and the project was running smooth as always.

Therefore, I decided to introduce myself to some of the locals who were wondering what these crazy people were running round in a field at the hottest part of the day.

I got chatting to a few elders of the village, (for those of you who don’t know, because Uganda was a British colony, they can speak English but apparently my slight liverpudlian accent they thought I didn’t!!!!) who asked why we were here. I used my usual response, ” we are here to have fun and give away loads of footballs”.

They are always amazed that we just want them to have fun and enjoy themselves. I continued with my quest to introduce myself to the locals, which is where I came across two children with their mother sat outside of their house.

I asked the mother if the children wanted to take part in the project. He reply was that unfortunately due to any of them eating for three days the children were too weak to take part. As you can imagine this is a heart wrenching moment.

I continued to chat with the mother to understand her situation and they said that poor crop production had left them with not enough food to go around and that they were too poor to buy additional supplies.

So I broke charity guidelines (sorry Dave), I picked up the two children, carried them to the van where I proceeded to give them cereal bars and bottles of water. I then took both over to the project so they could now join in the fun.

I had as just put them down and turned around before I felt a tug on my shorts and one of the children, a little girl, I had just put down, there staring up at me. I picked her up carried her with me to oversee the project. On many occasions I attempted to put her down but she was not having it!

After 30 minutes, I decided that with the increased heat to take her back to her mother in the shade. I sat with the family and chatted about life. They discussed theirs and asked me about mine. Mainly regarding family and friends.

I was just saying my goodbyes, I stood up to leave, when the little girl ran over and gave me a massive smile and wrapped both arms around me.

I asked the mother what the girls name was, she replied “Lucky”!! That’s when I thought what is lucky about this girls life! I was the lucky one! I have no worries about my next meal.

This story really brought me understand that all my stresses of work and family life aren’t as bad as many others who we attempt to support. This is why I return year after year, to try and give children like lucky a reason to smile.

Many people reading this might consider that what use is it that I came away and came back to my life never to see Lucky again. But it is my belief that that day, Lucky realised people do care for her, and that she can have hope and that one day may get that opportunity to change her life and become lucky!

Victoria aged 4 years – HIV positive

This is Victoria aged 4 years. She is with her auntie who brought her to one of Teams4U testing projects.

Her auntie brought her as both of Victoria’s parents had died from unknown causes and potential blamed on malaria. Malaria is a another terrible disease which effects thousands of local people in this area, but those fit enough survive and live long lives.

In the case of Victoria, both her parents died. I asked the HIV testing team why this was the case. They explained to me that if Victoria was HIV positive then the likelihood her parents would have been.

HIV and AIDS attached the person’s immune system leaving them vulnerable if they contract any other disease as the individual has no immune system to cope and fight it off.

This story seemed to repeat itself several times over the years when I have visited Uganda and speak with the local people.

In Victoria’s case, at present there is no cure for HIV, but she can be given anti viral drugs to allow her to live a normal healthy life.

For those who attend the sessions and are shown to be negative they are given training on greater understanding of HIV/AIDS and how to avoid contracting it.

We believe that this education can not only help stop the continued spread of the disease but will begin to allow the people to become aware and not contract it in the first place.

The education can then be passed to the wider community and hopefully be passed on to future generations.

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