On May 11th, the book and DVD 'Healing through our stories: women constructing HIV historic memory' has been presented to the public in Barcelona, Spain, and I am very happy to say that it has been very well received and it has started to live an independent life.

Before the public presentation, we had a 2 days meeting with the participants to have their feedback before anybody else's and to involve them in the presentation. That workshop was one of the most satisfactory events I have ever been part of. I still have in my memory their words saying: 'Thank you, you have succeeded in making my voice heard, exactly what I said', or 'I feel very important because I can recognize myself in the story, it is me, it has not been interpreted'.

When we were planning for the public presentation, with presence of media, NGO, health local representatives..., participants were not sure of wanting to speak in public so we just left it open until the actual thing took place. They were there and all of a sudden they decided to speak up about how they felt being part of the project.

Since then, they have asumed the task of public promotion of the book. They have been talking to the media and to organizations which showed interest in the book. And lately, after 3 of them went to the Barcelona women's prison to talk about their experience, they had the opportunity to listen to HIV+ women in prison willing to be part of a similar project. A proposal has been submitted to the director of the penal institution so that a peer-support group can get started within the facilities to give response to the positive women's request.

When I look back to the meaning that this project brought to my life I can only say that it is through this kind of experiences that I learn what is exactly what I am working for and also that I am in the right path. It is then that I see that dreams can become a reality and this is a continuous source of inspiration.

I would very much like to share the content of the book and DVD with anyone interested but I must say that it is in Spanish and probably it would not be of use unless you can understand the language (although I must say that I felt very much touched by the feedback of some who did not understand the language). In any case, if you feel that you would like to have it, I can send a PDF copy or you can download the book 'Sanar a través de nuestras historias' at http://www.redpositiva.red2002.org.es/ .

With love
MariJo

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Comment by Phil on July 24, 2009 at 9:20pm
MariJo,

Your work is now with the world. You have no idea where it will travel. Or who will come across it.

But here is what I think. The changes that the work will have on people's lives are beyond your wildest imagining. What you have done is a good, a rare and a beautiful thing.

Phil
Comment by MariJo on July 13, 2009 at 3:07pm
Thank you Rituu and Gaston.

Gaston, you know I would not mind contributing with a bit of translation if necessary. You already have experienced how little effort it is for me to talk about this project (ha, ha, I start talking and do not see when to finish!).

Thank you
MariJo
Comment by Gaston on July 12, 2009 at 11:21pm
Thanks for sharing what this project did to you Mari-Jo. I know a copy lies in our office in Chiang Mai and I'll revive my Spanish skills of a couple of years ago during lunch breaks for sure! It was a pleasure having you with us in Thailand for a while.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on July 12, 2009 at 3:51pm
Dear MariJo,

Congratulations! The way people have taken ownership of the book and are promoting it is indeed remarkable. Alas, I do not know Spanish and will miss out reading the stories.

Best,

Rituu

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