This weekend I was working, attending a youth conference that is part of a campaign called Act Positive by a coalition of NGOs including four that I work with, to educate young people about HIV&AIDS and inspire them to act.

Despite being officially “work” it was fun. There was a team from Youth for Christ KwaZulu Natal there. If you’ve known me a while that name will ring a bell as I volunteered with them on their Phakama program for three months during uni holidays four years ago. I knew the team leader Jeff Segone who was at the conference so it was fantastic to catch up with all the changes at YFC and who’s still there.

I also met some inspiring people from Uganda, southern Sudan and Slovakia, who are all doing HIV&AIDS awareness raising in their own contexts.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend with three other Dutch girls about my age who had volunteered in South Africa in the last year. They were great fun and it was so nice to get to know them through the weekend.

On Sunday morning the SA team performed their dance/drama theatre that they use in the schools they visit. From the moment the first bar of music played, I felt so nostalgic for that beautiful people. I’ve visited four times now and despite all the difficulties and struggles, not least of HIV&AIDS, I’ve met there some incredibly positive, open and generous people.

It reminded me of this quote by A.A.Gill about Africa:

…if you do stand in it and smell it and listen to it, then it will be one of the biggest, most profound powerful things you ever feel. It will fill the wet evenings and dark mornings. It will mark your card and have you on callback forever

P.s. The campaign is trying to collect 1 million signatures for its petition over the next three years. That might not sound like a big deal. But if you imagine that is 913 signatures a day, well, we’ve got a long way to go! Maybe you could take five minutes, visit the website, and sign the petition? And point any young people you know in that direction too…

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