Special comments on Homoine`s workshop

Omar Thomaz and Luis Enrique, two brazilian anthropologists with a great deal of experience, showed interest in Positivo project and insisted on giving us their critical appreciation in a two-hour conversation after the workshop:

‘It is very hard to communicate on condoms and HIV-AIDS in Mozambique. The first error that activists often make is to present the disease as a tragedy, whereas people must know they can work and live many years with an appropriate treatment. I am glad Positivo work with life, not death. Your project successfully maintained positive thinking all the way.’

‘The second difficulty lies in creating a double message. In Mozambique, two models are competing : condoms and abstinence. But abstinence brings confusion by mixing moral and public health matters. It results in the failure of the two models. The introduction of the song allowed you to escape this trap. You said ‘Postpone sex or use a condom’, which is far more practical and realistic than ‘Postpone sex or be faithful’.’

‘I saw only one mistake in friday’s performance. When you asked what to do if a condom breaks during the sexual act, a boy answered : ‘have a break and take another condom’. He was right. You can wait before going to meet a health technician. Stopping sex means panic.’

Brazil is a great example. Our country escaped HIV-AIDS tragedy because the whole society, from religious leaders to independant artists, was involved and focused on the health matter. In Mozambique, some people think the problem is cultural, but culture has nothing to do with HIV-AIDS and should be left to people. We are not idiots. Let us focus on the disease. What I like the most in Positivo project is that you work with people’s words and ideas, you don’t try to change their culture and never bring anything from outside. This is a very great step towards getting the population responsibly involved.’