Connecting local responses around the world
Aleta, Paula, Lorna, Michael and Autry participated in a ‘Self Assessment” SALT visit with inmates of the
Lusignan Prison in Guyana.
We expected reserved participation since the community of prisoners based on their incarceration may not want to be engaged in an exercise related to HIV. Our surprise!
After lunch, the number increased from 23 to 27 because four other inmates requested to be involved based on the
feedback from participants during the lunch period. The community was
vociferous, eager for information; the introductory session lasted longer than
the time planned. The questions about HIV and STI’s, sex and relationship in
general kept flowing; we did not want to disappoint them. There was fun and
laughter as information and learning was experienced on both sides. I never
know about “Winky Blinky” (ocular sex) was one remark. There was call for our
return and need to do test for the HI-virus.
At the end separation was hard, but we had to leave. At our reflection there was very much to talk about, there
was reminiscing of a lot of local responses during the experience. While we had
some knowledge of the community what actually happened was beyond our
So knowledge about the community does not mean it will react the same way so be prepared for the unexpected as well.
Everyone left with the sobering thought “We all might not have HIV but
we all have a family.” This family
is which we as individual belong to, the one we create with being a parent or
even the extended family and so our dream should be to care for our family as
the nucleus of society. It was mooted that the response, the wealth of ideas,
from this community was a result of their now having the opportunity to
There were four different dreams from four groups which in some way related to the family as mentioned above. In
some way the dreams state that at creation the world was at peace, love and
families were to achieve their full potential but because of sin (missing the
mark of perfection) we now live in a world of “STIs” (representative of all the
ills that affect us as humans).
The dream therefore included restoring family values as a mean of achieving our full potential. And that if
people were to live by two of the many commandments we will restore family
values. The two laws are:  Man should love thy creator and  love thy
neighbor as ye love thy self.
It was also discussed that a challenge for competence is merging of individual dreams into a common dream. Here negotiation, compromise and agreement among participants were necessary.
Each participant in each group had personal dream which had to be merged into a common group dream represented
in drawing. If this could be achieved at the group level it could be achieved
at the community/world level as well. Explaining the concept of “Self
Assessment” was easy as compared to doing the actual assessment with the
What is the meaning of competence was asked and in an effort to help all participants of the exercise the
illustration was done using the popular exercise as a mean of achieving healthy
lifestyle. The relationship between the dream and assessment was noted but that
to achieve the dream goal setting is an important part of planning. Discussion
on the different levels related each practice was challenging, time consuming
and needed more time.
The community however seem to understand the requirements and were able to apply the concept to others spheres of life.