Whole night it rain heavily, I thought the early morning flight would be cancelled or postponed. We had a schedule to meet both the SALT teams at Pontianak and Singkawang. I heard about the teams there, excited to meet, saw Novi (already a friend) and Chandra at ning. I heard the teams are having problems, they are stuck …I did not know, not sure about what it was. Now that with the rain I was thinking how it will turn up.
We arrived Pontianak, a sunny morning; the city was glowing with its tropical lush. We met the Governor in the morning. In the afternoon went to meet the much awaited SALT team and also the NGO partner implementing HIV programme. Novi was there with all her warmth so was the team. Our sharing begun with ....

"We are having SALT visits, talking and listening to people who belong in our community and we want to grow more, people want us to spread the warmth and excitement of ACP all the corners of the city and beyond. But we are not so organized to take ACP further, no follow up action; we have all the excitement and charm of AIDS Competence but do not know how to reach every nooks and corners.
Question arose: Do we know our dream?
Yeas we do....the reply came out as a chorus
What do we want then?
We want to be a solid team with more understanding and capacity and more confidence on SALT approach and ACP.
And finally some one said “we are at level 3 of self assessment, and now how to go to the next step?"
This statement was wonderful. When we know our dream, when we know how to do that then we are already half way through achieving our dream.................
Then the team decided the following:
Let connect our community with Merauke (Papua) SALT team. There they are having a grate partnership, already 40 dinaskesehatan was reached and for each dinas there are 2 facilitators identified.
The Pontianak team decided to prepare a module that they can refer back during community facilitations; they want to have their knowledge Assets at hand and to share when they need.
They want more sharing with international coaches and form a National Facilitators Network, to nurture and encourage them in achieving their goals.
It was late afternoon the meeting ended, and we left the room… outside it rain but the sky was clear so was our vision for ACP in Pontianak.

2 days later we were meeting Singkawag team in a wooden floored room full of excitement. Singkawang is famous for the beauties of its girls but their tragedy is they got trapped by long distance international marriages with boys who they had never met and this is sort of trafficking...many girls returned with lost hope, lost pride. We learned these communities can be reached through SALT and could see the impact. Like Pontianak this SALT team also wanted and felt for further nurturing by much advanced SALT teams or coaches.

Though the team does not think they are at level 4 of self assessment but there was an amazing result that could be seen in the reflection of a boy. Here is how he expressed how he got to get involved in SALT team:
“I am a IDU and I also run a band team (a team who sings and plays instruments). We did not know about HIV transmission, neither we knew the risk of needle sharing; we only know how to play bands. But ignorance took its toll. Six of my friends are already died!! Now I met the SALT team here months ago, now I know the information on HIV and Drug use..”
It echoed....”now I know how to play band and .how to stay safe”.....he is a SALT team member and he wants to invite his friends to do the same....
Don’t think the tale of two cities stopped here.....as the sun rises everyday and as the wind blows so are the communities. They are finding who they are, where they are and where they want to go.......

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Comment by Novianty on February 17, 2009 at 11:56am
Dear My Lovely Rebeka...

Thanks for sharing the tale of 2 cities...It was a greatful moment to see u in the real world...You r very friendly, warm and cute..hehehehehe...(same with Pak Zahid...:p)...Actually Pontianak Team is very enthusiastic to do the self assessment but still there is a confusion when they want to assess their organization as a whole...But at least they are trying rite??rather than bring it to the bed an throw it under the pillow...:P...Great to see your passion there n u r inspiring me when u say " Salt do not need a cost to do it, as long as we want to do it, JUST DO IT", well i guess its give 'her' (that lady..kekekekeke) a good lesson learn...Thanks rebeka..

Biiiigggg Huuggggg

Comment by Laurence Gilliot on February 14, 2009 at 5:06pm
Wonderful Rebeka... you tell it with so many colours and enthusiasm... I can almost smell the wooden floor in Singkawang and the sun shine in Pontianak :-)
I just would like to say to both team: Waw, I'm so impressed by the excellent job you are doing! Don't give up! It is not always easy on the way to AIDS Competence and on the way to being a SALT team... But you will learn so much on the journey... (I'm sure you already do) and you will make a difference in people's life... starting with your own ;-)

It is challenging for all teams. In Belgium for instance, the team has its own challenges... for example it is difficult to access communities. Also people do not feel concerned about HIV. But they are so motivated as well, just like you. This energy, inspiration, human connection is present in all SALTteams around the world. You are not alone...

A big hug from Chiang Mai! I'm sending you Gaston, take care of him ;-)

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on February 14, 2009 at 3:35pm
Dear Rebeka,

I was eagerly waiting to hear about your visit. Through your vivid description, I could picture and enjoy the events as they unfolded. Thank you.

With upcoming visits of JL, Lawan, Gaston and Steve, you will have a blast. Wish you good luck.

Hope you are having a great weekend. Miss you.


PS: Hope you are working towards your new year resolution.
Comment by Marlou on February 13, 2009 at 8:16pm
Thanks Rebeka for taking us by the hand on your journey - and seeing Pontianaks and Singkawans journey towards AIDS Competence through your eyes! A nice tale for my Friday evening...and a great start of my weekend, Marlou


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