While attending a meeting of MISSIO, the Mission Commission of the Anglican Communion, in Harare, Zimbabwe, in April 1999, the author attended the funeral of an AIDS victim with the Rev. Petros Nyatsanza. The man who died was pre-deceased by his wife and infant daughter, all victims of AIDS.
The Advent 1996 issue of the International Anglican Family Network "tells of just a few of the projects, linked with churches, which are trying to alleviate the suffering and halt the spread of the disease. In this terrible situation there are signs of hope." Article includes reports from 12 different countries.
The author, a librarian and Volunteer in Mission from the diocese of Montreal, is working at Newton Theological College, in Papua New Guinea. She describes a powerful speaker at the College. "Fr. Nicholas (Anglican priest) from Zimbabwe, who was doing a training workshop on AIDS/HIV. This man is training church people and teachers by telling them about the Zimbabwean experience: how the church shut its eyes and ears to the virus, refused to talk about the sexual connection, refused to endorse the use of condoms and now is reaping the awful harvest of those decisions". She also describes how garbage disposal is handled at the College and the concern that the College has polluted a local water source. She will soon start teaching an advanced English course for the wives of students.
"The Diocese of Central Zimbabwe is planning an extensive food relief programme as the region is suffering a fourth year of major food shortages." The diocese set up extensive HIV/AIDS programmes in 2003. An average of "two parishioners die of AIDS every month per parish. This translates into three people every day." Mr. Peter Kwaramba is the diocesan communications officer and also in charge of the St. Patrick's HIV/AIDS action programme also known as PATHAID. The programme works for "HIV/AIDS prevention, but also to deal with its contingent problems, including support for the terminally ill, orphaned and marginalised children, and for families in general. `The project sees HIV/AIDS as a developmental problem and tackles it prevention, care and support ... with empowerment ... spiritual and economic', said Mr. Kwaramba. The only problem with ensuring the project worked, he added, was a lack of funds and a vehicle".
A meditation by the now retired bishop of Manicaland, Zimbabwe. A reflection on Mark chapter 15, verses 9-14, the persecution and suffering of Christ because he was not one of the powerful and threatened them with his love for the poor and powerless. "As we know the same violence that nailed Jesus to the cross in still prevalent in our world even today. It has many forms and can be physical as well as verbal .... HIV and AIDS is claiming lots of lives in Zimbabwe today. Should anyone be stoned to death because of helping the infected or affected, for instance the orphans ? Should anyone be harassed or beaten up because she/he has offered food to a hungry family ? Indeed we have heard voices saying time and again: Do not love or care for them because they are not 'one of us'. Whenever an act of violence is committed, the perpetrators appear to be victorious. But history has shown us again and again that perpetrators of violence always become the losers in the end. Jesus appeared to be a victim but today we celebrate his victory of the resurrection ...".