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Game for the World on the Road in South Africa

January 18, 2013

Romeo & Anne good

Reverend Romeo Pedro is passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. “I’ve seen too many people die” he says. Eighteen years ago, when a 65 year old woman he knew died of AIDS, he committed himself to educating people about HIV. Romeo believes her death could have been prevented if she had been tested for HIV and taken medication which would have allowed her to live longer.

Romeo is the HIV/AIDS coordinator for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope District. The Church has 12 districts in Southern Africa. My husband Alan and I want to visit as many of its HIV/AIDS and Youth coordinators as possible in order to provide them with copies of Game for the World. The games have been funded by a grant from UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief. The coordinators work hard to provide HIV/AIDS educational programs to their districts. Districts are often very large and contain many churches. The Cape of Good Hope District straddles two provinces: Western Cape and Northern Cape. it includes a town in Nambia and is surrounded by the Indian and Atlantic oceans. It includes the poor and rich, rural areas, cities and towns.

“HIV/AIDS affects our whole community. Children suffer the most when they are orphaned and raised by stressed grandparents”, says Romeo. His church runs many programs, including two feeding schemes, a food parcel scheme, and an educational program on sexual health. One of the other churches in his circuit hosts a clinic in partnership with an HIV/AIDS non-governmental organisation. “The programs can’t be branded as HIV because of the stigma”, says Romeo. Even though HIV and AIDS are prevalent in South Africa, people don’t talk about it, they call it “the big illlness”.

Romeo says he been praying for creative ways to teach about HIV and that Game for the World is the answer to his prayers. I was very moved to hear him say this, and can’t wait to hear how the game is making a difference in the Cape of Good Hope District!

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