Fast-forward 20 years and great strides have been made in AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment. It doesn't seem to be the hot topic that it once was, at least not in the U.S., perhaps.
However, here in Papua, the effects of HIV-AIDS are devastating, and unfortunately, the virus is spreading rapidly. Statistics show that Papuans are contracting the virus at a rate more than 10 times the national average. Buzz and Myrna Maxey, longtime CMA missionaries in Indonesia, have a burden to educate the people of Papua about this virus.
Last Thursday Buzz and Myrna presented to the MAF Sentani national staff about their program called "Semua Harus Tahu," or, "Everyone Must Know."
|Myrna and Buzz|
"It's a disaster," Buzz said. "But people aren't shocked by it anymore."
Through the use of video, drama, and posters, the Maxeys' program emphasized purity before marriage (suci sebelum menikah) and faithfulness after marriage (setia setelah menikah). They warned of the dangers of alcohol (a major problem in Papua) and pornography, factors which lead to sexual promiscuity and the spread of the virus. They explained how the virus is transmitted, and how it is not transmitted.
Buzz showed how each of the five fingers of the hand can be used to remember key points about HIV-AIDS:
1. Love people with the virus
2. Love your family
3. Tell others about the dangers of HIV-AIDS
4. Be faithful to the Lord
5. Save Papua
Buzz, who has flown on MAF planes his whole life, announced a partnership with MAF at our meeting on Thursday. He and his "Semua Harus Tahu" group have developed a brochure that will go in each seat pocket in our MAF planes. The laminated brochures include information about HIV-AIDS, as well as a hotline number to call for help.
|Myrna and Buzz with Papua Program Manager Mike Brown|
|Yakobus, helper with the Semua Harus Tahu program, with MAF pilot and good buddy of ours Dave Ringenberg, insert HIV-AIDS brochure in the seatbacks of an MAF Cessna Caravan|
David has told me how the passengers, perhaps bored and with no reading material of their own, will read every detail of the safety briefing card in the seat backs. Now every seat back will have this important brochure and has the potential of impacting many of the 40,000 passengers a year that fly with MAF.
Semua Harus Tahu!