Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Disappearing for a while...

I'm heading out into the field to visit a new project in Ondjiva, Cunene. Cunene is Angola's southernmost province, bordering Namibia. Cunene is quite different from Benguela both culturally and geographically, so it should be interesting. It's cold there! (Although I'm still not sure what Angolans mean by "cold" so we'll see if it gives me any relief from the heat and humidity of Benguela.)

The project I'll be visiting is an HIV/AIDS prevention project. This is quite new for us, because unlike Benguela province, where prevalence rates are at 5% or so, the prevalence rate in Cunene is estimated at 30% or higher. This is largely due to its proximity to Namibia, which has an official prevalence rate of 20% but is more likely to have 40%.

One "benefit" of the war in Angola was that the borders and transportation routes were effectively shut down, so while the rest of southern Africa was dealing with a horrible AIDS crisis, Angola was not. However, once the borders opened after the end of the war, all that changed. Because there is so much movement in Cunene, HIV spread rapidly there.

This will be an interesting trip.

No comments: