My Association With Members Of This Community

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My Association With Members Of This Community

My involvement in the life of this Grabouw community started in 1998, as my family and I joined this town as residents. At that time, I became involved in the local Baptist church in town and also on one of the local farms. I had the opportunity to listen to many different perspectives regarding the infection and the disease. One of my liveliest recollections is that of the human experience of uncertainty, fear, suffering, tension and love, which I observed among the families accompanying members infected with HIV. My interest in the subject is supported by the growing need for care and assistance for people with the HIV infection. Their family and other caregivers such as churches and non-governmental organizations provide this care. Their arduous efforts are often omitted in the statistics about care. The realities that stimulated my interest in focusing on HIV and AIDS began with the research of my M.Th. in Practical Theology training and now my studies towards a PhD degree. It was during this research that the plight of persons with HIV struck me. The struggles of families in Grabouw became a reality as I moved from one shack to another. This research began when I joined the SANPAD research group in collaboration with the University of Utrecht. My study towards a PhD degree is a logical conclusion to the initial challenge that confronted me both then and now.
At the beginning of my PhD studies, I joined a large agricultural group; in the position of Assistant HR Manager. During my employment in this position, I often experienced individuals affected or infected who confided in me. I have assured them that no breach of confidentiality will occur. However part of my responsibility towards them and my employer were to conduct incapacity enquiries when they struggled to perform adequately.
Initially these individuals experienced the process as traumatic but they have learned to trust me. I honoured my word and did not divulge any information about their HIV status or any external factors, which may affect them negatively. I discussed possible areas where advertent breaches of confidentiality could occur with them. Our clinic sister is keeping records of all her patients. She maintains a strict code of confidentiality. She is a very responsible person who does not allow anyone access to her records. These records are stored in a safe place and are not accessible to anyone except our sister and members of the medical fraternity. Part of my responsibility includes the overseeing of a primary health care clinic. All activities occur in confidence I am proud to say that we have not dismissed any employees on grounds of their status.
Instead, we have managed to address the process where their low CD4 counts improved because of treatment from the clinic.
A social worker who is a registered Employee Assistance Practitioner as well as an Employee Wellness company (Procare) also assists our staff with emotional to social problems.

Historical, Economic and Social Vulnerability of This Community

During the last decade dynamics such as globalisation, as well as shifting employment conditions in the commercial agricultural sector have led to an increase in the export of produce. Strategically farmers use off-farm and seasonal contract labour and in this way minimise their responsibility towards this non-permanent work force. HIV and AIDS were unchecked while the disease silently gained a foothold in the Western Cape due to paralysis from within government circles. This inaction prevented proper HIV education as well as the development of workplace policies. Lasting solutions plagued by fragmentation due to the nature of the various sectors resulted in a lack of clear leadership.
Migrant workers moving between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Province worsened the situation. Farm worker mobility because of shifting employment patterns could have led to an escalation and subsequent spread of the disease. The seasonality of labour also disguised the actual situation as many workers return to the Eastern Province when they become ill or at the end of a season.
Many employers in this sector remained ignorant to the spread of HIV and AIDS. However, the correlation between extreme poverty and high levels of HIV prevalence is an obvious one and does not excuse a lack of concern from stakeholders. This indifference has led to a decline in skilled labour in the agricultural sector. The disappearance of a skilled labour force may become chronic in the years ahead. The Labour Broker phenomenon as well as Global Warming will be serious threats to the security of these individuals in the years to come.


Chapter 1. Introduction To This Research
1.1. Introduction
1.2. Background and motivation for this study
1.3. The Global Village
1.4. My Association With Members Of This Community
1.5. Historical, Economic and Social Vulnerability of This Community
1.6. Some Effects of HIV and AIDS in the Work Place
1.7. Ethical Trading Initiatives : A Partner Against HIV AIDS
1.8. The Research Problem
1.9. Aims, Objectives and Relevance of this Study
1.10. Importance Of This Study
Chapter 2. Research Positioning and Literary Review
2.1. Postfoundationalist Practical Theology
2.2. Social Constructionism
2.3. Literature Review
Chapter 3. Methodology
3.1. Participants in this research
3.2. The 7-movement procedure
3.3. The context and interpreted experience
3.4. In-context experiences are communicated to and sketched
3.5. Interpretations of experiences are made in conjunction with coresearchers, and described and developed in collaboration
3.6. Traditions of interpretation
3.7. God’s presence
Chapter 4. Ethical considerations
4.1. Ethical Considerations
4.2. My own confrontation with HIV and AIDS
4.3. Informed consent from my co-researchers
Chapter 5. Perspectives from my co-researchers
5.1. Joe’s story
5.2. Cathy: the woman who lost most of it.
5.3. Tokyo (alias) a limping tractor driver
5.4. Yesterday : the beginning of Mamzies’ journey
5.5. Ernie: Denial leads to incapacity
5.6. Molopo a model worker
5.7. Elisabeth a care giver
5.8. Two sides to a story
5.9. Narratives in a world of silence
Chapter 6. Interdisciplinary reflection and response
-Thickened through interdisciplinary investigation
Chapter 7. Critical reflections on this research


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