By Kevin Slark
Imagine a 33-year old mother of three children. She is a vibrant person with a great sense of humor and a role model to her family. Despite being a single mother, she ensures her kids have the best life they can, making certain that they have enough to eat and a good education.
The story of Maria is told by Liz Coleclough, the coordinator of Footsteps in Hope, an organization that raises HIV/AIDS awareness and that supports public health initiatives. Liz spent a year doing community health work in Old Mutare and witnessing the destructive nature of the epidemic. She has since endeavored to bring awareness to this issue as a global crisis – one that is a serious health emergency not only in
From this work sprung Footsteps in Hope, a student driven 8K walk/run that encourages communities both to reach out in support of areas that are crumbling under HIV and to turn around to face the problem that exists in their own back yard.
Bringing our attention back to
The first obstacle is simply traveling that 20K, an especially difficult task for a sick person without a car. Once there, a person then must wait in line for a hospital stamp. This seems easy enough, except that the waiting room is the size of a stadium and lined with benches that are full by 7 a.m. A four or five hour wait for the stamp is normal.
After that, a person has to wait in yet another line to see a nurse. This usually means another four or five hours in line, surrounded by other sick patients. Often the process takes days and requires the people that completely abandon their daily lives in order to get comprehensive medical care. Coleclough went to the hospital on a daily basis as Maria’s proxy, lobbying with hospital staff to acquire her needed medication.
Liz describes an extremely exhausting experience as a healthy person and cannot imagine what its like for someone who is truly sick. Can you?
Slark graduated from