Monday, November 3, 2008

Gulewamkule dancing against AIDS

I love Malawi. Traveling in the country and experience the beautiful nature and the smiling people and relaxed atmosphere is something I enjoy every time I have visited the country. Of course there is also a lot of suffering and poverty and many challenges but still I am looking forward for every visit. It is encouraging to follow the good work ADRA Malawi is doing and the heavy impact it has had on especially people’s openness to the problems concerning HIV/AIDS. In ADRA Denmark we often use ADRA Malawi as an excellent example on how to get people involved in both problems and solutions through a lot of activities, especially using both radio and TV.

Last time I was visiting we had a quite scary experience meeting the gulewamkule dancers. We had heard about them and was curious to see them live, and we certainly did so in a small village near Mchinji. We were told just to wait under the shadows of a big tree and suddenly the drums started on a wild drum session and two strange looking figures came out from the back of a hut. They were very aggressive in their dancing and I could certainly understand why people are scared when they see them – especially if there are many and when you know that they are not scared of killing if they have to.

Michael Usi told me the story on how they had changed their focus from terror to talking about AIDS and warning people about the danger. Some of the women that are joining would sing questions like: “What is happening? Why are the young men and women dying from us?” And the gulewamkule dancers would answer with their strange animal like voices: “It is AIDS, the disease is real, it is among us and we have to fight against it.” They are Malawis secret weapon in the fight against aids – and secret it is since nobody are allowed to know the identity of the dancers or refer to a certain person being one of these dancers. It is a real big thing that they have been changing their focus and are now being helpful in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

No doubt in my heart that the good Lord is blessing the work that ADRA Malawi is doing. The devil is working hard as well we all know, but the good impact of ADRA Malawis efforts is there for all to see.

Looking forward hopefully to another visit
My best regards to all the staff at ADRA Malawi

From: Bjorn Kroll, PR coordinator, ADRA Denmark

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