Kafin Chan and Bakin Kogi

The journey, the journey the journey is long” kept playing in my head as if my ipod was stuck on the song. The roads in Nigeria according to the NGO’s here have really improved, but only the main roads. The small roads to villages are much like they were 40 years ago. It is the dry season here in Nigeria and the long winding roads are very dusty though not as dusty as they will be in a few months. The earth looks like red clay very similar to the country roads in Northern Georgia in the USA. What struck me most was how very isolated these villages are. There are electric lines to these areas but the power is not always running through them.

The infrastructure of the entire country has a lot of room for improvement.

Faith Alive Foundation has outreach clinics in both of these small villages. They use motorbikes to travel between villages and homes for home visits.

We arrived in Kafin Chan when support group was meeting on Friday. What a blessing these people are. Every person at support group was HIV + and yet they was such joy on their faces. The support group meets every week and is really functioning efficiently in spite of inadequate facilities by western standards ( for Nigeria village standards it is excellent ).This group is 75% Christian and 25% Muslim – meeting together and supporting all that attend. They gather, visit, sing and exercise; they have the opportunity to ask questions about their medications and diet and life choices. Life choice is something that is really hard for the young people with HIV because of the cultural expectations for them. People are expected to marry and have children to continue the family. HIV + people are not being encouraged to have children here because there are so many risk factors that cannot be controlled here. It is really hard for them to accept that they may not ever be able to bear children because of this disease and if they choose to have children this choice can be a death sentence. In a society that places such high value on children and family that is a really hard choice to make especially if they have not shared their status with their family.

There was one woman that lost her husband a little over a year ago to AIDS. She appears to be doing fine physically and is eating healthy and staying physically fit, but her emotional health is rather fractured. Her biggest concern is that her T-cell count will drop too low before she is started on ARV therapy and that she will not be able to care for her children. She is older and does not have a mother that could look after her children if she gets sick. There was a farmer that wanted to obtain a revolving loan to be able to plant crops which are not available to them in these villages. One mother that had lost 2 babies to AIDS already wanted us to pray for her that she would be fertile and have more children if only God would bless her in this way she would be happy.

Hearing all of these concerns really touched me.

We were told that the group had fasted in preparation of us coming to their village.

Biana Grogg, (one of the administrators from Faith Alive) asked me to pray.

Dear Father, bless these people with the power of the presence of your holy spirit. Be with our brothers and sisters her in Nigeria and be with them each and every day from dawn until dusk and through each and every night. Guide them in their choices and help them to be strong. To end the fast this day and to eat healthy————-Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be they name, thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever…………Amen

Sarah Sprunger

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