Coming Home… Fighting AIDS with Culture A Photo Essay Inbluewaters Films Spring 2009
<ul><li>Coming Home… Fighting AIDS with Culture is a bold and progressive message on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Using Trinidad & Tobago as a case study, the film explores cultural impacts on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the wider Caribbean. </li></ul><ul><li>Coming Home is made up of 6 sections: A for Abstinence, B e Faithful, C ondomize, D o get tested, E ducate yourself, as well as a special sex and sexuality section. </li></ul><ul><li>Voices of Hinduism, Rastafari, Islam, Orisha, Catholicism, the Carnival culture, the national response to the pandemic and an HIV positive participant – all share their views on abstinence, condoms, relationships and sex. It’s a colorful, multicultural essay, with a powerful voice. </li></ul> Coming Home... Fighting AIDS with Culture Running time 103 minutes Color 2009
The Caribbean <ul><li>Trinidad & Tobago is a twin-island located in the eastern most southern part of the Caribbean chain of islands. The people and various cultures represent the myriad of cultures in the wider Caribbean. </li></ul>The natural beauty, tranquility and harmony in diversity found in the Caribbean, makes it one of the true "Garden of Edens” on the planet. But like anywhere else, the region does have its challenges…
The Caribbean & HIV In 2007, the population in the Caribbean was 32,024,000. The UNAIDS informed that by the year 2020, HIV/AIDS may cause 75% of deaths in the region. The Caribbean is the second-most affected region for HIV/AIDS in the world, next to Sub-Saharan Africa. Among adults aged 15–44, AIDS has become the leading cause of death. HIV transmission occurs largely through heterosexual intercourse. With two thirds of AIDS cases in this region attributed to this route, women are most at risk. Trinidad & Tobago, like the rest of the Caribbean is a very religious and traditional society. This sometimes creates contradictions and at times poses a challenge to the fight against HIV/AIDS - this is one of the themes in Coming Home …
<ul><li>Dr. Amery Browne is the current Minister of Social Development in Trinidad & Tobago. He is an HIV/AIDS specialist and served as Technical Director for the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) - the government agency responsible for the national strategic response to HIV/AIDS in the country. </li></ul>Participants Izola Garcia is the country representative for UNAIDS, which has its headquarters in Trinidad & Tobago. She lays out the official position/policy for fighting the epidemic. One of the tools employed in the fight against the virus has been the use of popular artists to promote condom use.
<ul><li>Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez is a three-time Trinidad & Tobago Carnival Road March champion (2003, 2008, 2009), and the new 2009 International Soca Monarch. She is the daughter of legendary Soca singer Superblue. </li></ul><ul><li>Bunji Garlin is a Ragga Soca artist from Trinidad. Bunji has won Trinidad's Soca Monarch competition on several occasions; 2002 (tied with Iwer George), 2005 and 2008. He married fellow Soca artist Fay-Ann Lyons on December 23, 2006. </li></ul>Participants In the film, Fay-Ann and Bunji both step up as role models and take a rapid HIV test, and get their results on camera!
<ul><li>The Condom Krew is a group of young Trinbagonians </li></ul><ul><li>who travel around the country demonstrating the </li></ul>Participants Ancil Henry gives powerful testimony throughout the film about being HIV positive to a group of student technicians. His charismatic delivery is honest, educational and punctuated with humour. proper use of condoms, giving out samples and other STD, HIV/AIDS educational materials to the public.
<ul><li>CATHOLICISM </li></ul><ul><li>Father Clyde Harvey has been working directly with people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in the region, in the mid 1980’s. </li></ul><ul><li>While the Catholic church's official stance is against the use of condoms for contraception, Father Harvey believes that in the case of HIV, condoms should be considered. </li></ul>Cultures There are just under 300,000 Catholics in Trinidad & Tobago. Roman Catholics make up the largest religious group in the nation, at 29% of the population. Father Harvey of the Rosary Catholic Church
<ul><li>HINDUISM </li></ul><ul><li>Hinduism is the leading single religion of the Indo-Caribbean communities in the West Indies. Hindus are particularly well represented in Trinidad & Tobago, where they constituted 23.8 percent of the total population, as of 2002. Smaller groups of Indo-Caribbeans live elsewhere in the Caribbean, especially Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Martinique and Guadeloupe. </li></ul>Cultures Pundit Sat Maharaj - a Pundit is a spiritual leader in the Hindu faith. Satnarayan Maharaj, leader of the Sanatan Dharm Maha Sabba Hindus teach that it is better to wait until marriage before sex. However, many youth admit to the challenges of abstinence.
<ul><li>BOBOSHANTI RASTAFARIANISM </li></ul><ul><li>Boboshanti, or the Priestly Order of Rastafari, was founded in Jamaica during the mid-twentieth century by Charles Edwards. The head office is in Jamaica and Edwards, though dead, is still considered their spiritual leader. </li></ul><ul><li>The organization has expanded over the decades, and now has branches in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and throughout the Caribbean. </li></ul><ul><li>Women in the church wear clothes down to their ankles, and all members cover their heads. Boboshanti women also keep a 21-day "purification principle' related to their menstrual cycle. This limits the number of days women can interact with men and are allowed to enter the tabernacle and participate in ceremonies. Before marriage Boboshanti couples often take an HIV test together. </li></ul>Cultures Tefre and Alexis, two Boboshanti youth share their experiences of practicing their culture, and the challenges of HIV/AIDS facing their generation.
<ul><li>ISLAM </li></ul><ul><li>Muslims constitute 5.8 percent of the population in Trinidad and Tobago, representing over 65,000 individuals. Elsewhere, Muslims can be found on all of the remaining 29 Caribbean islands, in either small pockets or sizeable populations. Muslims make up over 3% of the total population in the 19 islands of the English speaking Caribbean. </li></ul>Cultures ORISHA An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system (Olodumare is also known by various other names). Traditional beliefs and practices such as the Orisha at times can pose a challenge to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
<ul><li>CARNIVAL CULTURE </li></ul><ul><li>Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago is considered one of the greatest shows on earth. It’s celebrated just before the start of the Lent season. Thousands of people from around the world flock to the island to experience sun, pulsating soca music, colourful costumes and partying or “fetes.” </li></ul><ul><li>One of the themes explored in Coming Home… is whether of not the wild abandonment that carnivals often inspire lead to higher risk behaviour, acting as a culprit for the spread of HIV/AIDS. </li></ul>Cultures The National Programme, headed by the NACC amps up its prevention, awareness and educational messages during the Carnival season.