Recheal is an amazing young woman. At 35, she is the mother of 5 children, 4 of her own and one whom she found wandering in the banana grove and took in. When summarizing what it has meant to her to learn how to sew, she told us that before she never knew if she had enough money to feed her family, but that now she does. She is the person who used her funds last year to buy a door and windows for her house. She is also the founder and leader of the Kikagati group "living positively with HIV". This group supports one another, and travels around the district, performing dramas and singing, in order to
sensitize others to their message of hope. Last year Kitambaa provided uniforms for the choir - we hired Alice made the skirts and trousers and Recheal is wearing one of the T-shirts below. Yesterday she talked to me about the HIV positive group. She is distressed that many of them cannot afford the most basic food, that some are too old to work in the gardens, and that they have nothing to do. They visit one another regularly, always bringing a small gift with them - perhaps a bar of soap or onions or a few bananas. Sometimes they have a speaker come and talk to them, and "then we know", she says, "that 'slim' is like any other disease, and we can stand strong". But hearing first hand stories of men and women in their group, we thought that there must be something else we can do to help. So we are going to arrange for two women to be trained in bracelet making (by Dorothy, from Rubingo),and two women be trained in embroidery (by Florence, Alice's mother in Rubingo). We are going to provide a monthly food fund, so that when members come to Recheal, she will be able to provide them with posho and rice and matoke. And we are going to rent 3 plots of land, so that 12 members can begin to cultivate their own food. Such a small effort, really, but at least a beginning, for a group that has touched me deeply from the first time I met them 4 years ago. Should any of you be prompted to make a donation to the Kikagati group, anything would be gratefully received. Please know that you would be making a major contribution to these incredibly brave and strong people.