By Brenda Martinez, from the YWCA USA
The World YWCA is actively participating in the AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington taking place this week. One young woman shares her first impressions:
What a day! I could not fathom when I got up this morning at 5:30am how this day was going to turn out. We were able to successfully manoeuvre our way through union station at Washington DC with an oversize luggage and meet two delegates before 1pm. We were able to put technology to the test as a delegate from Benin did not speak English and we were able to effectively communicate with her via an app. The other delegate was on the board and she was from Palestine. Her trip to DC literally took her days! She had to travel out of her country before she could board a plane headed towards the U.S. I found myself thinking how lucky we were to be able to get to the location in a few hours and not have to worry about the repercussions of our actions as some of the other ladies in the delegations do.
After getting caught in the middle of torrential downpour and trying to coordinate an effective meet and greet we were able to meet most of the ladies from the YWCA world delegation. They had come from different parts of the world- Geneva, Zimbabwe, India, Chile, etc to be the voice of millions of women from all over the world that for some reason or another were not able to be here.
From my first encounter with some of the ladies I was quickly exposed to different cultural customs. From having different views on using personal body products vs. going natural to a diverse array of backgrounds I was quickly reminded that I did not know much of the world. It was further tested when we were buying chips and for the first time I had to think of a global brand of chips that the majority of women would like. I got to hear what each YWCA focuses on in each area and the many different projects each of the women were working with. Lastly, most of these women had travel extensively to get to the centre from dealing with lost baggage to different time zones, they were all willing to stay late to be prepared for the pre-conference, to me this showed how seriously they take the opportunities encountered.