HIV/AIDS in Belize

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I shot this mural in Belmopan the other day, having no idea that World AIDS Day was right around the corner (the previous link has photos from last year’s AIDS Day in San Ignacio). But here it is, and here we are, and here are all those infected souls in Belize and beyond. With a couple of clicks, I just learned that according to the 2004 World Population Data Sheet, outside of Africa, Belize has the sixth highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world. Wow. First step: awareness. Check out the facts in the mural above and in this report from Cornerstone Foundation. Next step: action. Consider volunteering with Cornerstone Foundation, based here in Belize’s Cayo District. Their office is right on Burns Avenue. Here’s an article about them, by Lee Anne Hasselbacher, in Transitions Abroad magazine. Excerpt:

Cornerstone Foundation, though founded by an American woman, is, in many ways, a Belizean organization. Its roots are local and it was created in the community it is now serving. Like the country itself, the organization is still finding its identity. Volunteers should be prepared to take initiative and be proactive in finding their place as resources for the community. Cornerstone has many far-reaching visions, but volunteers are encouraged to shape their own experience and be responsible for making a meaningful contribution.

Volunteering with Cornerstone offers valuable opportunities to develop skills in project management and community development but it also offers a perspective on life in Belize. Belize only achieved its independence from England a mere 24 years ago and has been reshaping itself ever since. It has a small, highly diverse population that is searching for its own national community amidst development, westernization, and blended cultural traditions. Because of the people I worked with I was privileged to get a glimpse of this evolving community and greatly enrich my travels.

Read the full article.

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