How ACP changed the thinking of village headman

(This story is a contribution of Uncle Houlai from Northeast India, produced verbatim to ensure flavour of the story is not lost. Uncle Houlai, a headmaster by profession is a member of the village facilitation team. He has been involved in home visits and seen how these visits have opened doors to greater dialogue and hence, a tremendous change in the thinking and mindset of the community members.)

There was a man in a village called Sirhima, a small village situated 35 km away from Dimapur,Nagaland in Northeast India. He was headman of the village.

He was very much afraid of HIV. What he knew is if anybody has HIV he is sure to die. There was no other alternative. So he hated any suspected people. He thought he must hold a HIV blood testing camp to test all villagers. It was decided that those found HIV positive would be driven out of the village.

One day I went to his village to organise ACP seminar. I first approached him as he was the headman of the village and it was necessary to take permission from him. He said that HIV is a dreadful disease and he will never allow the patient to live in his village.

Anyhow I conducted ACP seminar that day. Next Sunday I visited him again at his house. We had a heated argument for nearly two hours. Slowly he came to know of ACP. I told him that there is no difference between negative and positive and both can live for 80 years. But he or she must take treatment and must take care of his diet and health. The difference is that the positive person has to take medicine and negative person does not. HIV is just like another disease.

He was now fully aware of ACP and could accept positive people. He said that he is indebted to ACP as it gives
him very valuable knowledge. I can now save myself from God’s anger because I came to learn that positives are not to be chased away from the village. Instead they are supposed to be loved and cared for.

He said that my village will be known as the care and loving village of positive people. He organised a HIV testing camp where 40 villagers got tested and one was found positive. Now the village headman cares for this patient and loves him. He has asked his villagers to help the PLHIV in cash and kind. He has become the most caring father for this person.

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Comment by Laurence Gilliot on April 12, 2010 at 4:02pm
Uncle Houlai, I'm really impressed by your convincing power :)
Comment by Bobby Zachariah on April 9, 2010 at 12:01pm
Amazing story indeed. Bobby


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