AIDS in Guam

I am bit taken aback by the communication power of the Internet.  My intention of this forum is to discuss Unitarian Universalism in Mississippi where I currently serve two congregations.   In my post on the new MSD District UP! Program, I compared this innovative program for small congregations to the development strategy used to develop the Interfaith AIDS Ministry that I led for 15 years in CT.   Focus on one thing and do it well.  Then build on that success. 

I wrote to Mr. Patrick who posted the comment regarding the AIDS situation that the GUAHAN Project is facing in the Pacific Islands.  His work is as an AIDS instructor in Hawai’i.   He wrote back: We recently visited Guam to provide some training, and saw how hard it was for the AIDS Service Organization and the local Salvation Army. Migrants from Micronesia have been arriving in Guam seeking care and a better life. The endemic shortage of healthcare providers there has meant many go without adequate or any care despite desperate need. Our friend at the Salvation Army, Simion Kihleng, reported that many of the Micronesians he works with literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs. Their children go to school with nothing, and their hopes for a better life remain unfulfilled.  So, I have been using a little of my free time after work to encourage people to consider helping some people in Guam, Micronesian and beyond. I really appreciate your assistance and support.”
I also received this information from the Executive Director of the GUAHAN Project :

“Please visit our website for the latest in GP’s ramping-up of outreach services in the poorest and least fortuante communties on Guam.  In remote locations away from the tourist areas and shopping centers on Guam, many people from the nieighboring islands live wihout water, power and sewage infrastruture.  There are no roads, just rocky paths that are so rough and undeveloped that school buses, garbage trucks and most emergency vehicles do not pass over them to get to these villages.  There is no trash collection so people discard their waste by the side of the roack gravel trails.
 
My brother visited Guam from Los Angeles for a few days last week and I took him to one of the communities caller “Zero-Down,” named so because customers could buy homestead properties for no cash down and low monthly terms.  Problem is, no utilities or proper water drainage was designed in these parcels of land.  My brother said he was “disheartened” and was taken aback at what he said was “no less than total squalor.”  I think that most of us living in these U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions become so engrossed in promoting our islands of the the sun-sand-surf vacation resort destinations that we forget that some of our own people live in hopeless situations.   
     
“High rates of domestic violence, rape, drug abuse and child abuse occure in these places.  Nearly all victims have no way to report these offenses or are unable to do so because of fear of reprisal.  STD rates are astronomical and there have been outbreaks of dengue fever and other communicable diseases impacting people with little to no resources.  As you might expect, truancy is very high and there now appears to be a growing number of undocumented individuals here.  I posted some photos of “Zero Down” in the GP website Gallery.

 
“Your messages help us to focus more on the plight of our own brothers and sisters in our region.  The GUAHAN Project intensified the outreach servces to these areas to provide greater HIV/STD prevention and education services, access to OraSure CTR, urine-based testing for STDs and critical referral services.  We will combine beneficial activities such as a clothing donation component to the current outeach program.  The GUAHAN Project is committed to supporting our neighboring islands’ social service needs as our time and resources allow. –Alexis Q. Silverio, GUAHAN Project Executive Director-“

This adds to his comments below in the UP! program posting.  We can no longer live on this planet and think that what  we do here in Mississippi  has no impact anywhere else on the planet.  Our life here is connected to one another.  The love we share here can make a difference elsewhere.  If you feel so moved to help the people in Guam and the Pacific Islands, check out the website of the GUAHAN Project.  Blessings abound, Rev. Fred L Hammond

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Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 5:06 am  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Hi Fred,

    I just found your blog and am wondering if you are listed yet on Uupdates.net? This is an aggregator that collects and displays feeds from all UU blogs. I think you can submit your site for inclusion using the contact form. Welcome to the UU blogosphere!

  2. Shelby: Thank you for the tip. Blessings, Fred


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