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HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#mcjourney2017, AFRICA TRIPS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

Announcing: Mocha Club Journey 2017 !

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Has it been life-long dream to travel to Africa? Do you have a heart to serve others around the world? Do you love to meet new people and find friends with common interests?

If you answered YES to any of the above, join the Mocha Club Journey 2017 trip to Africa this summer!


This summer we are headed to Ethiopia and Kenya!  We will spend time with our partners at Women at Risk in both the capital city of Addis Ababa, and in Nazareth, a town a few hours outside of the city. We will also visit New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) in Nairobi, Kenya. Our trips provide an opportunity for Mocha Club members and their friends to visit Africa and witness firsthand what giving up a few mochas a month can do, while having a chance to serve the African people. The trip will be 12 days long and we team up with the local indigenous leaders in each country to serve alongside them in the orphanages, schools, and other various projects that Mocha Club supports.

  • Dates: June 11- June 22, 2017 (dates could vary 1-2 days on each side, depending on flight availability)
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Trip Details: Click here!
  • Interested? Email trips(at)themochaclub.org. We will follow up with details! But don’t wait too long… space is limited! 

<< APPLY TODAY>>

(or download the application & mail in):

Mocha Club
P.O. Box 2888
Brentwood, TN 37024-2888


Meet Your Trip Leaders:

IMG_0112  Curtis Stoneberger has been a long-time friend of Mocha Club and currently stands as the Executive Vice President of the organization. His first trip to Africa was a visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Mocha Club Artist, Sidewalk Prophets. He enjoys rides on his motorcycle, family time at his cabin, and music.

 

Fallon Mocha Club Trip Leader  Fallon officially joined the Mocha Club team in Nashville in early 2013, but has   been a long-time member and supporter.  As the Mocha Club Artist & Member Care Manager, she’ll make sure your trip to Africa is just one of the many ways you stay connected to the club! Fallon loves dancing, her puppy Henry, and leftovers.

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, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

The results are in…

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In a place where there is a high percentage of individuals & families suffering from HIV/Aids, the real suffering occurs when the community turns its back on those in need instead of stepping in to support their own.  In the Kibera slum in Kenya, Peter and his staff at HEKO are striving to reverse this problem.  In a place where the church should be stepping up to lead & “care for the poor” in this situation, this place that should be one of rescue & restoration is actually virtually useless and detrimental.

Peter and his team conducted a study with the local church to find some answers; these were the results:

  • The majority of church members have felt the extent of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
  • Gossip is the main source of how they know who has the HIV and AIDS.
  • There is significant loss of membership and tithe/offering returns.
  • Level of stigma is unbelievably high.
  • Level of awareness on transmission is very low.
  • Limited church initiated programmes on care and support.
  • Use of condoms are highly condemned and this position is non-negotiable.
  • Screening and testing for HIV is highly opposed.
  • Churches have not developed any activities or associated plans for the People Living with HIV/AIDS or family households affected by the HIV pandemic.
  • Church leaders and many parents are not prepared to tackle the issues, except the youths who feel free to share sexual experiences and discuss challenges with each other.
  • Lack of human material and capital resources including training, capacity building, material acquisition, curriculum development particularly on the sex education for youth, visionary leadership and resources acquisition to care and support OVCs and PLWHAs.

So, there is a vacancy in the space of help & support and Peter and his staff at HEKO are stepping right in.  Here are the services they offer:

·       Health and Nutrition Education: General well-being of the person and the value of good balanced diet to PLWHA on ARVs-ART.
·       Food Relief and Social Support: For the support of PLWHA, OVCs and Home Based Care givers for improved livelihood.
·       Sports and Recreation: To help improve good body health and social relationships among different target groups irrespective of status, age, tribe, culture and religious affiliations.
·       Economic Empowerment: To PLWHA, OVCs, Care Givers linked to opportunities for income generating activities.
·       Counselling: To PLWHA, OVCs, family household, drug addicts and other risky behaviors and negative lifestyle.
·       Life Skills: Psychosocial skills required in all aspects of young peoples lives that is critical to controlling HIV/AIDS among the youths as well as other aspects of education that highlighted participatory methodologies of the empowerment in all the activities and processes of decision making that concern the youth.
·       Discordant Couples: Special counselling service to couples where only one partner is infected or living HIV positive.
·       Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Small changes can make a big difference in reducing harmful effects and chances of having alcohol-drug related problems among the youth. Drug and substance abuse is linked to the rising crime rate, HIV/AIDS prevalence, schools unrest, family dysfunction, poverty and other malaise in the community. The youths are deliberately and tactfully recruited into the drug culture through personal factor, uncontrolled media influences and other related social exposure.

HEKO’s presence in the community is vital to closing the door on stigmatization, opening the door to community building, and ultimately ending the HIV/Aids pandemic. When you support Mocha Club and it’s healthcare initiatives, you are part of this eradication. Thank you.

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#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#MCJourney2016 Day Three : HEKO

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Four days have flown by already on #MCJourney2016, but somehow we’ve seen and heard more than words can summarize. We as a group have been talking about our experience so far, and we all relate to the beautifully frustrating struggle to communicate to our loved ones about this trip. Translating this mix of joy, despair, gratitude, conviction, grace, and overwhelming hope into words is no easy task.

I have to be the first to apologize to my friends and family for inadequately describing the nature of our journey as a whole. When asked in casual conversation why I was heading to Africa with the Mocha Club, I’d often say a quick response like, “To continue work with ongoing service projects” or simply, “With a non-profit.” Let me be so clear: this is no mission or volunteer trip. This journey is more like a learning trip or a listening trip; a let-me-know-your-story-so-I-can-genuinely-love-you-well trip. We joked today that it should be called a RelationTrip because that really is our whole goal. 

We are here to create and sustain relationships with African organizations who work within and through community members. We are here to listen to them tell us their greatest needs, and to hear directly from them about how to meet them in ways they know will best for the community. The “work” the Mocha Club has led us to do here exemplifies a quote I recently heard from Alexander Shaia: “Service is really going out with open hands and realizing that we’re standing in the presence of a magnificent other who is going to teach us.” Boy, we have learned so much in these four days. 

As a Mocha Club member, I had heard of each of the projects we would be visiting but I knew little about the stories behind them. What a gift it has been to sit down with founders of organizations like New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) to hear them explain, from the very beginning, how their visions came to life here in Kenya. 

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We spent yesterday afternoon at HEKO in the Kibera slum. Kibera sits in the center of Nairobi where over 500,000 people live in extreme poverty with little to no access to food, water, education, or physical/mental health care. Founders Peter and Monica Odero, residents of Kibera, recognized a growing issue specifically surrounding women with HIV/AIDS as the disease became more prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Societal stigma left many of these women abandoned by their husbands and completely shut out from family members who viewed HIV/AIDS as a (often inaccurate) reflection of immoral behavior or infidelity. Their homes were taken away, and these women were left with no way to feed their families or care for themselves. 

HEKO exists today to provide women with HIV/AIDS access to counseling to cope with their circumstances, nutritional education to ensure their medications work effectively, and physical activity to foster a community who moves and finds joy together. HEKO’s overall focus is to empower women with HIV/AIDS as they learn new skills to create products through which they earn a sustainable living.

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Listening to each woman’s story served as evidence of a yet another miracle in an unlikely place. Women receiving support through HEKO have seen major health improvements and some have even watched their children graduate from college. They have found light in dark circumstances, and community when they were once neglected and alone. And to think, this history of redemption all began when Peter and Monica chose to fight for a group of women who’d been told they were irredeemable.

Our time at HEKO was beautiful because it allowed us to peek into the darker corners of the lives of these women, particularly those who are afraid to share their diagnosis with neighbors and friends. But it also convicted me and begged to me to consider: Who am I overlooking? Whose gaze do I struggle to meet because I don’t “feel comfortable” loving them?  Instinctively, I want to wave my angry finger the families of these women — the relatives who left them with nothing — and tell them, “How dare you? How could you forget them?” But in truth, I have blindspots too. I’ll admit I have a hard time looking at the man on the corner with a handmade sign as he asks for help. I am fully aware of the thousands of people struggling to survive in my own community, and yet I carry on as if they’re not there. So many women in Kibera have a life and a hope because someone chose to seem them. What if we also made an effort to see those people and places we’ve kept behind our self-constructed walls?

If you have been moved by the work Peter and Monica Odero do through HEKO, you can contribute to their efforts today. Like right now! Peter assured us yesterday that the small sacrifice of one cup of coffee most certainly improves the lives of these women. More than this, when we empower one woman, we also guarantee a future for her children and we encourage growth throughout all of Kibera.

To learn more about how you can support this cause and many others, head to: http://www.themochaclub.org/journey

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

Saving lives…from the young to the old

UntitledToday is World Malaria Day!

First let us say a big THANK YOU for being part of sustainable health solutions that not only combat the threat of malaria but provide basis health care for communities in Kenya.  New Dawn Clinic is a neighboring health care facility on the campus of New Dawn Academy that not only serves the students in school but also the people in the surrounding community of the Huruma slum. You are impacting thousands of lives from babies to the elderly…here are just three of those stories:

The Young

A one year old baby visited the child welfare clinic and was severely underweight to the point of malnutrition. She has been a special client for the staff at New Dawn clinic – despite both low social and economic status of the mother, they have been supporting her nutritionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

So far the progress is quite good.

She is gaining weight and this is a good indicator of progress. The mother appreciates their daily care home visits and prayers we share together which has lifted her spirit.

The Adult

A patient visited New Dawn Clinic with a history of cough for more than two weeks, weight loss, and diarrhea. He was counseled and tested for HIV & was found positive. He also received positive results for Tuberculosis & was immediately provided with ARVs and Anti-Tb’s to fight both diseases. The clinic staff did a follow up at his home and advised on good and proper ventilation so as to reduce the transmission of the Tuberculosis. They continued with counseling two times a week and a home visit nightly.

Currently, his progress is good. They are continuing with both psychological and spiritual counseling and home visits.

The Elderly

We visited this client at his home at the nearby slum Huruma after complaints urine retention, tremors, and weakness of both upper and lower limbs.

Daily home care was started immediately. One week later he was transferred to the home of the elderly where he was being monitored.

Since the clinic started attending the patient, much improvement has been reported. In October the patient was discharged from the home for the elderly back to his home at Huruma slum. Since the discharge date, the clinic has been visiting him weekly for supportive and preventive care.

This client comes to the clinic weekly checkups and the family is so happy and has appreciated the prayers and support we offer them each day.

HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday 04.11.16: World Health Day

Greetings, Mocha Club!

It’s Monday again. My Mondays are always set to the tune of the very popular song by the The Bangles (It’s just another manic Monday…). I don’t actually dread Mondays as much as I used too. Every Monday is like a miniature fresh start, or a reminder that whatever we feel like we didn’t do well or couldn’t accomplish the week before is in the past. We get to start anew each week! On another positive note, I think that spring has finally sprung. The world seems a little greener lately. And despite a slightwind chill, the sun is back in business to supply warmth yet again.2W2B0363

Last Thursday was. World Health Day is a global health awareness day falls on April 7th each year. World Health Day was started by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, and the decision to make April 7th the official date came two years later in 1950. The importance of World Health Day is that it is an annual opportunity to bring people’s attention to the state of health worldwide. Each year, WHO organizes events for World Health Day based on a specific “health theme.” The organization sheds light on the statistics of certain health issues that affect the us on all on a global level, and offer ways in which we can work together to prevent certain diseases and ailments from taking over our lives. The theme for 2016 was Beat Diabetes.

As many of you know, one of our five project areas here at Mocha Club is healthcare. It is of major concern that many of the countries in Africa do not have proper healthcare systems, or any healthcare system at all. Therefore, when people of all ages are faced with sickness and disease, they often have nowhere to turn. Therefore, another important aspect of the awareness brought about by World Health Day is that it brings attention not only to the theme for the year, but also the need to provide decent, accessible healthcare to all people, no matter where they live. While we have much and varied access to healthcare and modern medicine here in America, it is important to recognize that we are very lucky, and that we should be working to see that what is provided for us, can be provided for all people.

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Fortunately, Mocha Club is able to work to provide healthcare for people in Africa because of you, our members! For instance, the development of the New Dawn Clinic in the Huruma and Githogoro slums near Kenya and HEKO in Nairobi’s Kibera slum were made possible with your help, prayers, and kindness. Through these clinics, people are able to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS, be provided with vaccinations, and have general ailments fixed, such as bandaging wounds. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for helping us reach beyond our borders and help to provide healthcare and assistance to those suffering from sickness and disease. We cannot do these things without you!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I will see you next Monday!

Thank you for giving!
Austill

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

End the stigma now!

It is not just the physical deterioration of the HIV/Aids epidemic that makes it so painful but a HEKO3more emotional and spiritual attack that takes place that most people don’t know about.  To be affected with HIV is to be outcast.  Teenagers and young adults who are affected either from hereditary reasons – their parents passed on the infection at birth – or they were involved in at-risk behavior that led to the spread are dealing with a heavy stigma & discrimination that they must deal with alongside their physical health.

“As a result of delayed treatment and the overbearing stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV positive, about 29 percent of all new infections are among adolescents and young people according to a survey released by the Ministry of Health on World Aids Day this year on 1st December 2015.

As a result, HIV-AIDS related complications are the leading course of deaths among the adolescents and young people with 9,720 adolescents and young people dying of such in 2014 alone.”

HEKO2Our partners at HEKO – Heritage Kenya Organization – work with HIV+ members of the community. Peter, founder of HEKO, shares his insights from his many years of work in the field. The stigma and rejection from their community and peers “makes it challenging to attract and sustain their focus on maintaining their health, particularly for those with chronic illnesses and this explains why those infected with HIV would rather stop taking ARVs than keep answering questions on why they are on pills.”

Sarah*, a 17 year old high school student was invited to speak during World Aids Day. Born with the HIV virus, she has been on ARVs (antiretroviral medication) since her childhood. When her time came to address the gathering, her message was very simple, “end the stigma and discrimination”. She did not ask for a great deal but instead something every human being could afford.

“we the young people are the most vulnerable group. We are one of the segments most at risk of HIV”. “We need prevention strategies tailored and testing campaigns-focused especially on adolescents”. “Many of us are dying young because we do not know our status or because we are of the stigma and discrimination associated with the HIV virus!” Sometimes our parents think we are too young to know our status or to know about the sex and or HIV. Nobody wants to discuss these things with us! They mistakenly think they are protecting us by not disclosing it to us on how it is spread! Yet some of us were born with it and yet still HIV and sex amongst the youth and teenagers is a reality. The earlier you know your HIV status the better because then you are put on medication and you will protect yourself and others”.

Our friends at HEKO are dedicated to not only bringing nutrition education & health care HIV+ women but also to inform the community, friends, and family that the discrimination needs to stop. Your support of this health care program through Mocha Club allows for this important message to be shared and for eradication to come quickly.

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Before working as part of the staff at the Mocha Club, I joined as a member back in 2007 supporting the health care projects and HEKO. And this summer after 9 years of support, I will get the chance to go visit Peter and Monica at HEKO and see this life-changing work first-hand. Will you join me? For some of you, traveling to Africa may not be the call for you. But maybe joining me to support these women for $9 a month is – we can’t do this work without your help!

End the stigma now!

Written by: Fallon Klug

*Out of respect & safety of our partners, names have been changed.

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!

HEKO
#mcjourney2016, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Uncategorized

Mocha Club Journey Stop #2 : Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO)

Next summer we are headed out on a journey to Africa with visit Ethiopia and Kenya! Our trips provide an opportunity for Mocha Club members and their friends to visit Africa and witness firsthand what giving up a few mochas a month can do, while having a chance to serve the African people. 

We will take the next couple of weeks to introduce you each of the spots we will be visiting on our journey!


Next up: our partners at HEKO.

We will finish up our visits with our partners as we travel to Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa and home to the Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO). HEKO provides mental, physical, and spiritual support primarily to women impacted by HIV/AIDS. We will spend the day meeting, engaging, and praying with members of a HEKO support group, alongside founders and group leaders Peter and Monica Odero.

<< APPLY TODAY>>

(or download the application & mail in):

Mocha Club
P.O. Box 2888
Brentwood, TN 37024-2888