Today marks World AIDS Day, as well as the first day of Advent, I believe.
Nevertheless, I have said one word of prayer and another expressing my gratitude for yet another Christmas season.
First, World AIDS Day: I’m not paying attention to it just because I am Ugandan. This ethnic fact only matters because Uganda was the first developing country to tell the world that we had a problem with HIV/AIDS – a move that helped stop a disaster of nuclear proportions.
When Uganda first spoke out about this disease in the 1980s we were just climbing out of an abyss of ruin and war, and the euphoria of the day threatened to combine with the despondency and poverty we had lived through for decades till then to cloak us in suicidal ignorance.
When the United States declared HIV/AIDS an international problem I had a by-lined cover story in Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/id/98512/page/2) but was too humbled by my experiences covering the progress of the fight against AIDS to revel in the achievement. Every year, therefore, I make it a point to pin on my red ribbon and get involved in some activity or another to spread awareness in the hope that more and more people will make an effort to avoid contracting or spreading the disease, and learn not to stigmatise those infected.
Last night my plan was to change my email signature to append the ribbon and then send out over a hundred official emails so that my activity benefits the company and offsets the cost of the emails (I am still rolling on the floor over this morning’s Globe House biscuit shortage rant!) But this year, here’s my contribution, as I have spent the entire day at my desk in Hamburg watching the sun do it’s half-day and “being busy” so much so that I have just remembered to raise a flag…or ribbon. (Insert short prayer or something here.)
But perhaps my attention was also diverted by the official start of the Christmas Season!!!
If you’ve got Windows Media Player on your computer, click on the icon, go to the tab labelled Guide, then it will load Internet Radio. Select the holiday channel and you will spend the day humming away giddily while getting lots of work done (seriously, get work done while you do this and nobody will complain or take away your biscuits). – If you’re on iTunes it’s even much simpler, so just do it.
Mind you, one’s mood will always be bright and uppy regardless of the sun’s laziness if one arrives at the office first thing in the morning to smiling young hostesses handing out sachets of Advent chocolates (one for every day from December 1 to 30) with the compliments of a keen office Initiative Team!