On Saturday, October 16, 2004 the Parish of Ship Harbour hosted a PWRDF Workshop. During the Workshop, two videos were shown one entitled, For a Generation without AIDS with footage of the HIV/AIDS presentation by Stephen Lewis, to the meeting of General Synod in June this year and the other, A Closer Walk. Both videos were very powerful and we would recommend them to any group who plan to hold PWRDF meetings in the future. It was difficult not to be emotional as one viewed the suffering in Africa and other parts of the world where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is taking its toll. The question – what can we do to help alleviate the suffering was naturally raised.
We were fortunate that our guest speaker for the day was Sunyata Choyce, a 23 year old girl who had worked in an orphanage in Africa as a volunteer for 6 months. She was able to inform us first hand of the needs of young orphans at St. Mary’s Children’s Home for AIDS located at George, South Africa. In speaking with Sunyata prior to the workshop, we were able to ascertain that school and basic health supplies were needed, and that through volunteers returning to Africa, these supplies would become part of their regular luggage and would go directly to the children, no freight fees or administration costs were involved. SunyataChoyce and Anke Bueshimg are the founders of the Project COLORS (Children’s Overseas Learning Opportunities & Resources) Foundation.
We learned also that 60 teddies had been donated to the orphanage, through the kindness of Teddies for Tragedy, a group whose roots are in Nova Scotia. Sunyata related the pleasure shown by the children in that they now, each had their very own teddy! We were touched and inspired by the enthusiasm of Sunyata. Sometimes we are inclined to look at this problem of AIDS in Africa and it seems so overwhelming that we wonder what we can possibly do, and what difference would it make, but Sunyata, by her enthusiasm and positive outlook showed us that we should start by doing small things and this will make a difference in the lives of those young children, left alone, due to the death of their parents through HIV/AIDS.
On the Sunday, following the Workshop, two PWRDF prayer services were held in the Parish, and at the services, we remembered the representatives from the Mothers Union in Manicaland, who when addressing Synod this year, and asked how do you cope with such devastation around you, quoted Revelation 21. It was the promise contained in that part of scripture which upheld their faith, those attending Synod will remember their testimony. Our challenge and mission is to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, those infected and those affected by HIV/AIDS by doing all we possibly can, however small, to alleviate their sufferings.
We thank God for the lives of people like Stephen Lewis and especially too for such a young person as Sunyata who lives with hope and was indeed an inspiration to all who attended our Workshop. Our Planning Committee for the Workshop consisted of, Rev. Stacey Renouf, Kay Bradbrook and Eileen Humphrey