Peace Corps volunteers in Namibia are producing a CD called "NamibiAlive!" that will raise awareness about Namibia's AIDS crisis inside the country itself
PCV Amy Taylor and other volunteers are working with Namibian recording artists to create the CD, which will be distributed free to 5,000 combis, mini-buses that transport Namibians from town to town, in December. In her nearly two years spent in a Namibian homestead, Taylor said she's formed a bond with the people that compelled her to do whatever she could to help. Taylor teaches English classes in Namibia in which she incorporates AIDS education into the curriculum, and she's organized an HIV/AIDS awareness volleyball tournament, HIV/AIDS testing and peer training for students, an AIDS awareness week and World AIDS Day activities and events.
"'NamibiAlive! is important to me because the people of Namibia are important to me," Taylor said in an e-mail message. "I live with around 20 babies and children on the homestead. They call me Meme (mom) and I adore them. The women in the village all care for me like I was their child. "It hurts to know that, statistically, if something drastic doesn't happen to change the course of AIDS, these people that I love so much will not live past 45."
"The musicians are great," said Taylor. "We were already on the same page. Many of them had already released HIV/AIDS-related songs or been involved in AIDS awareness efforts. Everybody in Namibia, myself included, is desperate to do something to curtail the epidemic. You just can't imagine what it's like to wake up to a funeral gun (people in the villages shoot off guns to alert their neighbors of a death in the house), and know that someone close to you has fallen victim to HIV/AIDS. There are funerals all the time."
The CD was released on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day. And after her service time with the Peace Corps is done Dec. 15, Amy says she'll stay in Africa until mid-March, touring the continent with friends.