By EMILY COOK
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – The Tshwane Medical Clinic received more than food parcels today, as a team from organization Hope Alive encouraged patients with music and nail painting.
The clinic receives hundreds of HIV and AIDs patients every day, but the hot African sun did nothing to quench the patients energy on Friday.
Handing out instrument shakers and drums, the Hope Alive team, led by missionaries Paul and Alejandra Watson from Keswick, ON, experienced the African songs and dances and patients.
Also serving women patients with nail painting, Hope Alive volunteers draw out smiles, and, despite heavy circumstances, help the women feel beautiful.
“It gives the patients encouragement that somebody cares,” said Thabitha Motsei, head nurse about the presence of Hope Alive at Tshwane clinic.
Although about 90 percent of patients are HIV positive at this particular clinic, only some are receiving treatment. Others avoid admitting their condition because of stigma surrounding the disease.
Part of Hope Alive’s mandate is educating in HIV and AIDs prevention, to end stigma, and encourage treatment and testing for those who think they are HIV positive.
“We need more ways to encourage patients to come to the clinics and that’s what Hope Alive does,” said Maxi Rink, a student volunteer from Germany.
As proper nutrition is vital for HIV treatments, Hope Alive brings food parcels to patients in need. The donations can close the gap of hunger caused by many patients being without a job.
Returning to Tshwane once a week, Hope Alive hopes to build the morale of patients and clinic workers. Tshwane helps to reveal the need for a human army to fight the invisible adversary of HIV and AIDs.