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He takes HIV head-on using his pen

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2009 03:00 AM

EVERY problem comes with a blessing, a friend once told me. I was then young and naive and could not make out what my friend was trying to put across.
As an adult, I do not find the message incomprehensible any more.

EVERY problem comes with a blessing, a friend once told me. I was then young and naive and could not make out what my friend was trying to put across.
As an adult, I do not find the message incomprehensible any more.

By Vision Reporter

Name: Paul Wanaye
Age:25
Contribution: Counsels and documents HIV experiences from different people
Quote: “Every journey requires one to take a step. It is just a step which counts”
Contact: +256779064447, +256772493182

EVERY problem comes with a blessing, a friend once told me. I was then young and naive and could not make out what my friend was trying to put across.
As an adult, I do not find the message incomprehensible any more.

I have come to realise it is mainly people who have gone through difficult situations who think through problems and come up with brilliant solutions.
This is the same concept that changed Paul Wanaye’s life, making him an HIV/AIDS activist.

All his life, Wanaye has seen a number of friends he grew up with waste away before finally succumbing to AIDS. Years ago when he was leaving his mother and father in Mbale for Kampala to study a bachelors degree, he did not think he would return to Mbale to be at the frontline in the fight against AIDS.

On returning from university, he was shocked to find every inch of his neighbourhood littered with graves. Many of his old friends had died of AIDS.

This marked the beginning of Wanaye’s long, indomitable struggle against the scourge. For this very cause, Wanaye turned down several job offers.
Three months later Wanaye returned to Kampala to get training in counselling and prevention of HIV/AIDS at The AIDS Support Organisation.

He may not have all the money to invest in this campaign, but has the knowledge and energy it takes to make a difference.

Armed with old, files and a tattered bag, this young man traverses villages and towns disseminating the information he believes will save the world from the dreaded scourge.

On the day for this interview, Wanaye turned carried documented experiences for his counselling and sensitisation programmes. Many people may not pay attention to his written work, but deep inside, he is nurturing a great dream.

“I look to that moment when someone will sit down, read through my work and help me get it published. ‘Every journey requires someone to take a first step.’ The content of this file is my first step towards achieving an HIV-free universe,” Wanaye explains.

“When I finished writing, I thought it was too personal to share with anyone. I later learnt all writers are appreciated because of their originality in their work.”

This encouraged him to use part of the piece as a monologue in his counselling sessions. Impressed by the excerpt, one of his clients encouraged him to keep writing. That explains his return to writing the venture.

He is an impressive writer. He conjures his statements with originality and his pieces do not read like a copied write-up from other books.

“Fears associated with the disease have devastated people’s emotions,” read a few lines from Waneya’s work.
Apart from using his pen as a weapon in the fight, Wanaye has managed to stand as a role model in his village by practicing abstinence.

Andrew Wetaka, his village mate describes Wanaye as a committed, selfless, and loving young man. Wetaka says the country needs thousands of people like Wanaye, if HIV/AIDS is to be wiped out of the country.

Wanaye says most donors and the Government are mistakenly investing much money in treatment, other than prevention.

“If HIV/AIDS has to be wiped out, there is need for all Ugandans to know how to fight it right from childhood,” he explains.

He takes HIV head-on using his pen

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