Our day in the village on Wednesday was a huge success, but almost didn't happen. It was due to myths and fears that the villagers had concerning having blood drawn and immunizations administered. These are the things that we deal with here on a daily basis which makes our work harder and things taking longer as well.
I thought you would find this interesting..............
When we arrived at the village Wed. morning to start the HIV testing and immunizations we had a surprise waiting for us. 50 of the parents from the school and refused to allow their children and themselves be tested. From there the others had decided to reject the testing as well based on the myth that "white people or Muzungus" come into the villages and "suck" peoples blood and then take it and sell it for alot of money. We had to spend quite a bit of time counseling them and explaining to them how the process worked, how much blood was actually being taken and that we weren't going to "sell" their blood. We got them settled down and ok with having the HIV test but then they all refused having the children and themselves immunized.
The fear there was that they were all going to die or be crippled. We didn't know this but apparently in 1991 one of the government heads went on a campaign to immunize all of the villagers. They said that many people died afterwards and that the children all became crippled. I have no idea if there is any truth to the story, but it was firmly ingrained in their minds that this would happen to them. So we again had to speak to them and let them know how it actually worked and the benefits to them. After much talking and reassuring they finally consented and they all agreed. Afterwards when we ran out of vaccines the ones who didn't get done begged us to please come again so that they could be taken care of. We will see them again on Wednesday.