Yesterday was a special day. I have had the privilege of jumping back in to help lead a support group of persons living with HIV, the same group of people I helped to lead when we were here before. These people are incredible and struggle with difficult lives in the midst of daily fighting their disease. They are humble and strong. For Christmas, the other leaders, Naomi and Bernadette, suggested we get out of the Ocean View township for a fun outing. We went to a beach and 'braii' (cookout) area called Soetwater that is only about 10 minutes from where we all live. The weather was perfect, sunny and in the 70s, and everyone was excited about our day out. All three of us leaders prepared a TON of food, and most of my job was to buy the meat. For the 'braiis' here they grill over a fire chicken and sausage, and Bernadette also made a stew-like meal called 'Poike' (pretty sure I am spelling that one wrong...). We ate ourselves sick and just enjoyed the beauty of the mountains and water. The best part, however, was to see how different everyone was just being outside of our community for the day. Everyone was laughing and talking and just having a great time. They just seemed so 'light' to me and I felt like I got to see their true selves. I think the hardships and oppression of their lives and illness bring them down so much, so it was heartwarming to see them happy for a day. I kept saying all day 'this is HEAVEN,' and I was referring to the good food, perfect weather, and fun time with my friends. Thinking back on it now, it probably was a glimpse of what heaven will be like; where there will be no sickness or darkness or oppression, and we will be truly free. Can't wait.
Lots of love,
The support group at the end of a great day!
The fire pit with 'Poike' cooking
Glenthia (on left), a group member, presenting gifts to the leaders Naomi and Bernadette
Eating our second round of food, sitting together under the shade of the tree
Me with Joanne, the member from the group who publicly shared her status at the World's AIDS Day rally in Ocean View last week. She is amazing!