The CARE for AIDS center in Kiganjo is in a beautiful purple building on a hill overlooking fields of cows on the periphery of the community. We have been operating in Kiganjo for five years, and I have been able to attend graduation for the past three years each December.
This year I had the unique opportunity to interview many of the clients after the graduation ceremony. Client after client sat down with me during lunch to go over basic discharge data, and at the end of the interview I asked each client the same question- what is your dream for the future?
It was incredible to see everyone pause and reflect on the question- some clients giggled, others were very serious, but all of them had an answer that impressed me.
"I want to own a plot of land and start a small farm."
"I want to have the best small business in the community."
"I want to buy a small house for my family."
And then there was Susan's answer that I love so much "I want to raise my baby and meet my grandchildren one day."
We talk a lot about orphan prevention a lot at CARE for AIDS, but to hear it straight from a client is so exciting. When Susan started the program at Kiganjo nine months ago, like many other clients, she didn't have hope or plans for the future. The fact that our clients have these big dreams on their graduation day is confirmation to me that they are being transformed and empowered through community.
I am excited to start 2016 with the end in mind- when we think about what our work looks like 12 months from now, I picture thousands of more clients like Susan who have graduated and are standing on the edge of a promising future. Clients who have dreams and hopes, and kids who can be carefree because they know their parents will be around for the long haul.