By Roselynn Karasti and Brenda Asiimwe
Girl Power took a journey to Delhi in style as they made a tribute to those living positively. Pastor Jessica Kayanja, dressed like a goddess, looked like she was born in Delhi.
The girls looked so angelic and gorgeous with Indian ornaments, the colourful saris and shararas.
The gentlemen, who graced the function to support their women in preaching the gospel of living positively with HIV, donned punjabs, Ninzam dresses, which they accessorised with maharaja shoes.
“People living with HIV should know that they have got many years ahead to live, but the choice is theirs to make,” he said.
Pastor Wilson Bugembe and Exodus heightened the crowd’s mood with their moving songs of Bamuyita Yesu and Igwe respectively. Isaiah Katumwa took the audience to the starry clouds with his saxophone.They savoured every moment of it.
The life-changing testimonies of how HIV-positive people living positively were embraced with tears and smiles of hope. The Reverend Gideon Byamugisha told of how hard it was to disclose his status after losing his wife in 1989.
“Being a Reverend, it was harder than it can be for any layman. I knew people were going to point fingers at me,” he recalls.
He says God gave him the strength to stand through that trying time and in 1995 he remarried an HIV-positive widow, with whom he has two beautiful daughters who are HIV-negative.
Byamugisha says it takes courage, strength and faith in God to find the peace of mind and the perseverance to live for tomorrow.
Twenty-seven-year-old Jackie Kemigisha, a second-year student pursuing a degree in commerce at Makerere University also had sad, but inspiring story. She was raped by her friend’s boyfriend in 1999 after she left her alone with him in his car as she went to buy something from the nearby shop.
“He drove off with me and did the unthinkable,” Kemigisha explains.
In 2004, she fell very ill and almost died.
“The doctor did the test without my consent and told my step-sister, who let everyone else know. I was very stigmatised until 2010, when I found the courage to tell my story,” she narrates.
Others who testified were Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, Pastor Wilson Bugembe.
Noerine Kareeba and the late Philly Lutaaya got awards in recognition of their efforts in the fight against HIV.
She sold six books, one at shs2m, and two at sh1m each. Others went for sh100,000, sh851,000 and sh900,000, respectively.