In my last post I wrote about "joining the empowerment process." Empowerment is not a gift we can bestow on an eager people. It is not something we can carry in our suitcases from Birmingham to San Pedro Sula. It surely can't be bought off the shelves in the local pulperia; otherwise, why wouldn't everyone have it?!? Empowerment is a process. It is the process of someone learning why they are important. It is the spectrum of circumstances leading a person to know for certain that they can set and achieve a goal. Empowerment is the relationships in a person's life that let her know it is not okay to settle for the status quo.
The AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative, AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program, invites local community leaders to join this process. Part of what makes ASI so effective is its special addition to the empowerment process: recognition. As AHMEN, as SIFAT, as CHHF, and as a family living under the positive light that is our shared faith in humanity, we recognize the honest steps being taken by ASI's health promoters.
This begins "Part One" of an ongoing newsfeed covering individual health promoters from both Byron Morales' workshops in Cusuna and Yorito. I will feature a picture and a short biography of one or two health promoters every couple of days so that when you hear each promoter's name and accomplishments in conversation, you will know that person is a part of AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program. I am also featuring individuals so that when you arrive in Honduras you can give each health promoter a big hug, call them by name, and tell them how much you love what they are doing.
Without further ado....I present to you:
At the most recent Cusuna workshop, during reflection about the considerable taboo facing people living with AIDS, Roberto shared his own difficult experience regarding his diagnosis with tuberculosis. After he was informed, and the public health service provided counseling, he was fired from his job and put into isolation. During this time he lost a considerable amount of weight, and his fellow community members thought he had contracted HIV-AIDS. As you can imagine, the misinformation surrounding HIV-AIDS in Honduras began to further contribute to Roberto's quarantine. After more than 120 injections Roberto is improving and has risen through the ranks of AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program. His testimony during the most recent Cusuna workshop was a living illustration of the obstacles people living with HIV-AIDS face in Honduras. The realization that many people actually living with HIV-AIDS experience marginalization is a prime motivator for Roberto wanting to tackle STD education and prevention as his practical experience project during his third and final year in the program.
As you think about how ASI, AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program, works in Honduras, think about the empowerment process. Think about the courage it took for Roberto to share his story, and think about how the empowerment process is working for him as he takes up someone else's struggle.
For more information about joining a mission team to Honduras or contributing to AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program, please feel free to contact me.
Together, we are the difference. How can you help?