All Posts By

Lana Sydenstricker

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

You’ve got questions, THEY’VE got answers!

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Peter Odero, founder of HEKO shares with us some insight from an interview he had with a couple on social health disparities on stigma and discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. 

Q: Why do people not like going for HIV/AIDS Testing?

A: “Many people do not like going for HIV/AIDS Testing for fear of disclosure if tested positive.  Stigma and discrimination is still a major factor among families and communities. People tested positive are still a subject of isolation even at such a time like this when a lot of information is available in the public domain because of the negative attitude people received about HIV/AIDS. Some facilities employ unqualified staff who have poor approach to clients. There is also fear of not getting proper attention among family members and even during counseling sessions.”

 

Q: Why do people default on ARVs?

A: There are many factors that cause people to default on ARVs: 

  • False Prophesies: There are a number of healing churches which pose to have a healing strategy for people living with HIV/AIDS.  People who are desperate are easily swayed and believe in such and deliberately decide to drop their adherence to ARV drugs.
  • Traditional Healers: Some people who are HIV positive easily believe in traditional healers and choose to default and go for traditional option.  This is also common practice among slum dwellers.
  • Stigma, Discrimination or Denial: This is a common occurrence practiced among pregnant mothers who turn HIV positive after volunteer on HIV pregnancy test.  Their spouses or immediate family members discriminate against them and many times are subjected to fear and become discouraged from taking their ARVs.  At this stage, there are some who face hostility and resistance after disclosure of status.
  • Fatigue from Medicine: Majority of people on ARVs suffer from the burden of being under so many drugs prescribed due to opportunistic infections. Taking such drugs alongside ARVs causes fatigue and discomfort which result into default on ARVs.
  • Food and Nutrition: Dietary issue in nutritious meals go with ARVs given the fact that some of these drugs have clear warnings “do not take without food”.  There is fear of taking ARVs in an empty stomach.  This means that most people living below poverty level are at risk of defaulting.

 

Q: With all the facilities and information on the ground, why are some people not accessing these facilities?

A: “With all the facilities and information available on HIV/AIDS, people are still not freely accessing these facilities because majority are still having a feeling of fear, despair, and isolation when an HIV test result is positive. Stigma and discrimination is still causing a lot of challenges to the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the society.  Some facilities are also not equipped with the right personnel to effectively handle cases where one is tested positive. Information of HIV tests are supposed to be personal and confidential to help restore confidence on the affected individual.

There are many cases where families or individuals have not yet received the correct information about HIV/AIDS.  There are also many negative beliefs and assumptions about HIV/AIDS that has led to non-compliance attitude among community members.”
QIn your own opinion, what is the quality of life for people on ARVs?

A: “Many people on ARVs have accepted their new status and are living positive with HIV/AIDS despite challenges around them. Majority no longer suffer from fear and discrimination that characterize people tested HIV positive. They participate fully with the rest of their family members in the day-to-day socio-economic activities for their well-being to have sustainable resources to make them stay in treatment for a lifetime as they cope with local social disparities.

In my opinion, and in the eyes of majority, there is a sharp contrast between people on ARVs and the other people living with HIV/AIDS who are not yet on ARVs.”

 

Q:What would you like to be done differently from what is being done now?

A: “There is a need for a more collaborative approach to help deal with HIV/AIDS pandemic in our society.

More intensive door to door approach on families and individuals would make more appeal in terms of education and general management and control of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

There is a need to invest more on poverty reduction to create an enabling environment for self-reliance among families and individuals infected and affected by the impact of HIV/AIDS.”

Without help from the Mocha Club, these people would not get the help they need to live a full and happy life with HIV/AIDS! Join the Mocha Club today!

FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

Women at Risk: Healing From the Inside Out

When thinking about organizations in Africa, you may be thinking, “How are people selected to be in these programs?”

The process of selecting women to be apart of the Women at Risk program is not a quick or easy process. The women are chosen based on their desire to leave the prostitution industry and their desire to leave it in the past. Here is a closer look into the process of how women’s lives are being changed.

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First, social workers visit the women on the streets and in bars during the night, hoping to talk to them and build relationships with them. During the night visits, the social workers look for women who are desiring to leave prostitution and find a way out.

The beautiful thing about this is that the women are met right where they are. In the streets. In the bars. Just as they are. 

The social workers get to know them right where they are and invite them to come to the center for more relationship building. Finally, if the desire to get out of prostitution is authentic, they are invited for a final interview.

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Next, twenty women are accepted into the program and begin structured counseling. Many of the women receive one-on-one counseling to make their rehabilitation a success!

During this counseling, the women are loved on and cared for not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.

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In the final phase of the program, skills training, the women choose a skill to pursue and grow in. Trades include designing and tailoring, food preparation, and hair styling. Eight of the women also chose to start their own businesses and employ themselves. Training in finance was provided for these women, so they can learn the necessary skills to be successful.

One of the most impactful parts of this program is that during the rehabilitation process childcare is provided! In the Nazareth Project in Nazareth Town, Ethiopia, there are 54 children and mothers being cared for. Out of the 54 children, 11 of them are under the age of 4. The children receive day care and participate in a summer camp.

Without the help and care for the children, the mothers would not be capable of going through the full process of the Women at Risk program.

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Women at Risk is not only just for women, but it also helps children receive the loving care they need!

So when you participate in giving to The Mocha Club, you are not only helping women change their lives for the better, but you are helping families become whole again.

MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday: 12.07.15

I want to thank everyone who came out to the Mocha Club Christmas House Show last night! We had a blast listening to the artists Rand Walter, Ernie Halter, and The Orchardist perform!

Annabelle and I enjoyed sharing about Mocha Club and we hope you will get involved, whether it be through joining as a Mochatern, becoming a Mocha Club member, or telling your friends about us!

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Ernie Halter

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Rand Walter performing

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On that note, this is our last week in the office! We can’t believe how fast this semester went by, but we are thankful for the experiences we had. This week will be an exciting one as we get to attend the Mocha Club office Christmas party and help out with a Matt Wertz concert on Friday in Nashville! Maybe we will see some of you there!

Thanks for following along and reading!

Lana

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

HEKO Stories: Relationships Formed

The relationships formed through African Leadership and HEKO are very impactful! They change women’s lives by giving them hope and by simply showing them love.

Here is the story of one woman who changed her life after meeting the people from African Leadership and HEKO:

Teresa Anyango Odiawo was diagnosed HIV/AIDS positive after her husband died from the disease. She was living with her two children and her HIV/AIDS positive younger brother. She was having a hard time coping with people mistreating her because of her disease.

She was introduced to HEKO, where she participated in psycho-spiritual counseling. She also met Barrett Ward and Emily Blackledge from African Leadership who supported her micro-finance training. The support and help shown by these two organizations gave her hope and inspiration.

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Teresa and her brother

Teresa started a bead work business and trains other people living with HIV/AIDS on knitting, beadwork, and crocheting. She has become a role model for people living with the disease and volunteers as a social health worker.

She now understands the importance of community and having relationships with people. She would not have gained this confidence without the example shown by Emily Blackledge being there for her third child’s birth, Barrett Ward’s support and teaching, or HEKO‘s compassion and training.

When you give to Mocha Club, you are helping create relationships that build communities.

 

 

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

What are we thankful for this year?

YOU!

Project C.U.R.E. is an organization that Mocha Club donations help support by giving medical and healthcare supplies to different countries in Africa. And year-after-year, YOU have been providing life-saving medical care + supplies to communities all over the continent.

The last donation was used to provide care to pregnant women through an organization called Saving Mothers, Giving Life. The movement works to reduce the number of deaths that happen while women are giving birth. In many countries in Africa, women do not have the right medical care to prevent death while giving birth if complications arise such as severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure or unsafe abortions.

Donations from Mocha Club were used to ship this container full of medical supplies including boxes of disinfectant bottles, wipes, thermometers, stethoscopes, drip stands, and beds to help provide care for many mothers receiving care. With the Mocha Club’s help, lives are being saved!

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Thank you again for your donations and the life-saving care that you are helping provide to the women in Africa!

EVENTS, MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday: 11.16.15

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Hey Mocha Club !

Thanks for following along! This week, Annabelle and I have an exciting announcement:

We are planning the first-ever Mocha Club Christmas House Show! It is going to be so much fun! We have artists, Ernie Halter, The Orchardist, and Rand Walter coming to play some Christmas songs for us on December 6th as we celebrate The Mocha Club and spread awareness to the Nashville community.

We will also be selling our new shirts there! Be sure and check them out online! Bring cash or check!

If you live in the Nashville area, don’t forget to mark your calendars for December 6th and check out our Facebook event page!

Lana

 

 

 

AFRICA NEWS

African artists hope to bring peace with their music

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

American Grammy Award-winning artist and R&B singer, Ne-Yo, is collaborating with artists in Africa and recently visited Kenya. He will be performing in Uganda live this coming fall.

He recently Tweeted “In Kenya recording a mashup with 5 artists from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria & Uganda… #CokeStudioAfrica”

Some artists that Ne-Yo is working with include Ice Prince, Alikiba, Wangechi, and Dama do Bling. Many of these artists, including Wangechi and Dama do Bling, are working on promoting peace in Africa. They have a single coming out in honor of Peace Day at a festival in Rwanda this September and hope that it will bring the youth in the region to promote harmony within their communities.

Sources:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508241318.html

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508250097.html

 

 

MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday: 11.09.15

It is crazy how we are halfway done with our internship! We have gotten to learn a lot so far and we mochaterncan’t wait to reveal the #mochatern event coming up soon! Make sure and follow @mochatern on Twitter for all the latest updates. Annabelle and I are planning out the rest of our time here and plan on having lots more fun working and growing with the Mocha Club staff.

Lately we have been working on tagging scarves for the upcoming tours, writing blog posts about our partners in Africa, sitting in on team meetings and brainstorming new merch for you!

Christmas time is my favorite and I am so excited to begin the holiday festivities. With Thanksgiving and Christmas season just around the corner, be sure to check out the Mocha Club Store for some awesome gifts!

Lana

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

HEKO Stories: Education is Power

There is a need and YOU are answering the call.

The money raised through giving up mochas helps support the HEKO program in Africa. Last year, as the HEKO program was conducting door-to-door visitations where they prayed over famScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.39.05 AMilies, they met a woman named Jane Akinyi Obonyo.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Odero of HEKO later learned that the woman they were visiting was living with HIV/AIDS. Jane was abandoned at home with her two children and feeling hopeless.

The Oderos invited Jane to be a part of the HEKO ministry where she got regular support and hope. She learned about the importance of nutrition and how to take care of herself then she began spreading the ministry to those around her.

So when you give up a mocha and donate to the Mocha Club, you are helping people just like Jane and impacting an entire community!

 

Orphan Care

Before and After: Lizulu Orphan Care

Founded by Everton Kamangire, Lizulu Orphan Care is an organization in Malawi that addresses the challenge of orphan care. They seek to provide assistance and aid to orphans while keeping them in homes in their communities to respect their dignity and teach them a sense of belonging to a family.

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BEFORE

BEFORE

 

Over the years YOU have helped provide for over 500 orphans and have changed the lives in the community by helping provide food, clothing, blankets, education, medical care, and spiritual guidance

 

 

 

 

The program is working to become financially sustainable through its agriculture program, which feeds the orphans, and through renting out houses they built to local families. YOUR donations have helped build these houses and provided homes for the orphans within the program! See the impact of your donations in the photos and video below!

 

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AFTER

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TODAY!