World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day has been held every December 1st since 1988. World AIDS Day’s intention has been to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS across the globe. For this years event, the theme is focused on human rights and access to treatment for everyone.

Here are a few sobering facts about HIV and AIDS:

• A total of 33 million people now live with HIV/AIDS. Two million of them are under the age of 15.

• In 2008, an estimated 2.7 million people were infected with HIV.

• Every day 7,397 people contract HIV—that breaks down to 308 people every hour.

• In 2008, 2.0 million people died from AIDS.

• More than two-thirds (67 percent) of all people living with HIV, 22 million, live in sub-Saharan Africa—including 90 percent of the world’s HIV-positive children.

For additional facts about AIDS please go to this site.

Shown here is collection of logos for non-profit organizations dedicated to fighting and raising awareness about AIDS. Links to each of theeir respective sites is below the image.

1. Youth AIDS
2. Love Heals
3. Africare
4. Debt AIDS Trade Africa (DATA)
5. ONE
6. Elton John AIDS Foundation
7. amfAR
8. Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)
9. International AIDS Society
10. (RED)
12. Pangaea
13. AIDS Alliance
14. World Vision

About the trip to South Africa

Since I posted the first set of photos from South Africa earlier this week I have received a ton of emails saying  “great vacation pics. Please upload some more.” I want to point out that we wweren’t there on vacation. While not all of the photos are from Motherwell and the school where we built the playground,  the trip had a real purpose. We were there to film a documentary and build a playground at the school.

The purpose of the trip was to call attention to what Mama Nozake is doing with the soup clubs, and how she is helping those that are HIV positive. The purpose of the trip was to show what kind of impact she is having in her community, and how she is fighting against great hardships in an attempt to improve the lives of so many with so very little. I am attaching a number of photos to this post. The reason we went is shown on the faces of the children in many of these photos. If you want more information about Nozake and the film, please go to the official film blog here.

Back in the first world.

photoAfter 14 days in South Africa, I have a few observations. Before I list them I am going to say this. I had a great trip. The team was amazing, and we got tons of footage for the film. In addition we built playground equipment for school children that have absolutely nothing. I mean nothing, they are beyond impoverished. I’m glad I went and I feel like I made a difference even if it was in the smallest of ways. Now here are some things I took note of, some funny, some interesting, and some that just pissed me off.

They have meat flavored potato chips. yes meat flavored and they are surprisingly good.

They eat loads of meat, potatoes, and pasta. not much in the way of salads. If you are a vegetarian, South Africa will be tough for you.

The drivers are insane.

The country has an unemployment rate of over 30 percent. This means many people are desperate for money and the like. This is why Johannesburg is the most dangerous city in the world.

Apartheid might be over, but little has changed for people of color in South Africa. The law might say you have equal rights but chances are you won’t be treated that way.

There is a HIV positive rate of 47% amongst women in South Africa, yet the government thinks it is a good idea to legalize prostitution for the World cup soccer games next year. This is so they can tax the prostitutes. What the hell are they thinking? Hey let’s make it legal so 150 thousand plus tourists can be exposed to a 47 percent chance of getting infected.

The country is absolutely beautiful.

Wild animals in the game parks are really wild and they will eat you or maul you if you get to close. No, I did not find this out first hand.

36 hours of travel time to get to South Africa is really really rough.

The announcement on the flights was punctuated with this phrase, “PAIN PROGRESS” it should read PA IN PROGRESS. I think PAIN PROGRESS is more accurate.

There is no high speed internet in South Africa

Afrikaans is one messed up language

Did I mention meat flavored potato chips?

There are rich people and poor people in South Africa. There is hardly any middle class at all.

South Africa is really huge. It takes for ever to get from point A to B because it is a massive country. We drove no less than 4 hours between all the cities we travelled to. Twice it was over 9