Wednesday, 5 December 2007

YAA Fest 07 - A state of grace - Part 1

Looking back it almost seems to be a dream. The intense activity of the past week - culminating in an almost round the clock effort to get the show on the road - and then the final day which almost went in slow motion - like Harold Abrams running the 100 m dash in Chariots of Fire...

We had a scorcher of a Dec. 1st - bright hot sunlight burning us to a crisp as we set up. Minor hiccups like no water for a long time - and the threat of our toilets not being given water by the resident power - but over all the peace - as a hundred different parts of the programme came together - as the logistics of setting it up on at the St. John's school took root - and we had the physical reality of the fun-fair and the NGO stalls set up and in place.

By 3 PM the first folks had started trickling in. It took a bit for a buzz to be there in the stalls - but the sheer joy of seeing the long prayed for young people coming in - some tentatively - some boldly was great. A young woman writes an encouraging message to people with HIV. We will be displaying this 'wall' at our year-end celebration for our Positive Friends and their families. We are expecting over 250 folks this year.

At other tables a number of games incorporated HIV prevention and information messages. The face-painting table was well frequented - but mainly for 'arm-painting' as most did not want to have their faces tatooed for the evening!

Edison runs a sound check in prep for the evening concert. The band Commonunion was our headline band this year and really put up a good show. Young guys who are in college and in workplaces - they do what most Mumbai bands have to do - cut down on sleep time try and meet up together after work to jam and practice.

A lady and her son from one of the JSK self-help groups. The 'Ruth' group made carrot halwa, poha and peanuts for sale at the programme. It was the first time that they had got together to do something like this and was a real encouragement for the ladies. We have seen a significant change in a number of the ladies since the self-help groups have slowly started to gather some steam. We were blessed to have an excellent turn out by our fellow workers in HIV issues. In the above picture, our colleagues from World Vision share with participants about their work while selling products made by HIV positve people. In the table behind them our friends from the International Justice Mission show their aftercare work through the candles their clients have made. We were thrilled that IMCares, Oasis India, In-touch, CBM, Salvation Army, ACT-Chiraag and our own JSK were able to display information about HIV and our responses to it - as well as products people with HIV had made.

While the fair was in progress below - a small film fest was taking place in the first floor classrooms - 4 films showing simultaneously - that is until the power went out! Our dear film affectionadoes had to come down and do some more milling about in the fun-fair and NGO stalls. The power did come back - all was cool - and tempers remained very tightly controlled. Throughout the time we were blessed with peace.

- next up - Purity Rocks! The Concert.

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