As the International AIDS Conference 2012 concluded last week. Two YWCA delegates share their reflections:
By MARIA ZIWENGE from the YWCA of Zimbabwe
I was very excited when I received an invitation to attend the AIDS International Conference. I was offered an opportunity to talk about my experience at the Inter-faith pre-conference. The issue of presenting as a keynote speaker was the only thing making me a little bit scared! I would get nervous every moment I thought about it. I left Gweru on Sunday after my son was discharged from the hospital so I had to travel during the night. My flight was on Tuesday so I left Zimbabwe on Tuesday for the conference. What a long journey it was, I had to travel for 15 hours! I got to Washington and started polishing my presentation. The day of presenting came and I had to speak. I woke up early in the morning started to prepare at 4am. We waited for a shuttle to take us to the place but it took a long time so I had to walk with Monica Simon and Kuena Diaho. As for these two it was a long way but for me I didn’t recognise the distance, all I wanted was to get to the place and speak. We reached the place and printed my presentation then my two friends’ hand me over to the organisers.
I was trembling with fear when I had to meet and shake hands with respected people of higher classes than mine. The time came we went to the stage and when it was time for introductions I stood up and rushed to the microphone to speak but then Rabbi held my hand and said, ‘No it’s not yet time for you to speak’. I couldn’t carry the shame I put myself into but I pulled myself together. All the first speakers spoke very well especially Rabbi so I started asking myself the question if I was going to be able to present my speech in the way others do theirs. But God helped me and I spoke very well as it was one of the comments I received from the audience. When I finished the whole room clapped for me and I felt something like a stone rolling from my heart. TO TELL THE TRUTH I WILL NEVER FOGET THIS MOMENTING TIME.
By Haidy Sidky Riad from the YWCA of Egypt
From darkness to light
Keep me promise
All of these titles aim to one goal – fight HIV and stop it!
First I am happy to be here as it is the first time for me to be outside of my country and to attend this International AIDS conference. It is a truly great opportunity. Local and national leaders participating have spoke about people living with HIV from all over the world. UNAIDS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Michel Sidibe spoke of the 22 years of fighting HIV. He highlighted the urgent need to continue providing funding for HIV treatment and prevention. UN SECRETARY GENERAL, Ban Ki. Moon, said that we will continue to support and promote health, dignity and justice. SECREATRY OF THE UNITED STATES, Hillary Clinton vowed to promote human rights and called for unity in the global response to HIV. All of these leaders called for a greater response to HIV.
I believe that when we work together we will destroy and fight HIV with our collective efforts and we will eradicate it. We should ask ourselves why did my mother die with it? Why was child born with it? Now we need to affirm that we will live without HIV, mothers will live without it and children will be born without it. Everything is possible, you can be anyone, you can love, you can dream all the day never reaching the end of everything that is possible for you.
Let there be zero new HIV infections all over the world.