By Angela Nelson
Get Global Students
You can’t find Taku on Google maps, but it’s there—near the village of Nvu, in northwestern Cameroon, on the west coast of Africa. Four American students returned from spending a week with the Limbum people who live in Taku, far away from modern conveniences.
“They don’t have electricity or running water or anything. They don’t have paved roads. They’re all farmers,” Katrina, a high school junior from Virginia, said. “It’s like a totally different lifestyle, but they are very happy people.”
The students were part of a team sent through Wycliffe USA’s Get Global program, designed to give high school and college students a taste of mission work overseas. Students live with host families from the village and experience what life is like for them.
While they were there, they helped teach both adults and children about HIV/AIDS. The students had always heard HIV/AIDS was a big issue in Africa, but through Get Global they were able to actually meet people who lived with the reality of this disease in their community. They taught the children basic ways to stay healthy and how to prevent the disease. With the adults, they were able to go a little deeper.
“We were encouraging them to talk to their children about the issue—about sex in general because I get the impression that there’s really no concept of ‘the talk’ in that culture,” Zach, a junior at Yale, explained. “They seemed pretty excited about just starting to get a dialogue going. They’re asking really serious questions about it—things like, ‘If a wife wants both her and her husband to get tested, and the husband refuses, what should she do?’ She doesn’t really have that much power to override him. They aren’t questions that really even have answers [but] it’s important to talk about them.”
The team was also a catalyst for funding the audio recording of Kande’s Story into the Limbum language. Kande’s Story tells about a girl whose parents die of HIV/AIDS, leaving her to raise five siblings. As they face struggles, the people in their community—especially the local church—help them survive, learn how to prevent HIV/AIDS, and care for others affected by the disease.
“It’s a nice tool because it’s a fairly story-driven culture,” Zach says. “It’s a culture-sensitive way of presenting AIDS education or also using the church as a resource rather than a place for judgment.”
The story has been translated into 139 languages throughout Africa, which makes it unique. A lot of HIV/AIDS material is not available in minority languages such as Limbum. Even though the team was only there for a week, they were able to leave the Limbum with an audio recording of Kande’s Story in their own language. The material is designed for listening groups to sit around an audio player to hear the story and discuss it in sections.
“Because I live in America, it’s easy for me personally to become self-absorbed,” Laura Grace, a college sophomore from Arkansas, explained. “Here I am in this totally remote village that so few people even know about existing … and I was like ‘God sees these people and loves them and hears them as much as He sees me or any of my friends in America.’“
Editor’s Note: Some 65 million people have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and more than 30 million have died. Today, 34 million people are living with HIV and 2.7 million people were newly infected in 2010 alone. For more information about Kande’s Story, visit www.scripture-engagement.org/is content/kandes-story If you’d like to participate in a Wycliffe Discovery Trip – please visit: http://www.wycliffe.org/discovery.
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