The Last Kiss is rolling…
THE LAST KISS
Alicia walks into her ultra-modern office feeling on top of the world. She feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off her shoulder.
She has spent another quality weekend with the love of her life despite all the trouble that is brewing from the obnoxious Cynthia. Although it has slowed down things for her and Curtis a bit, she is sure the light will surely come at the end of the tunnel.
She is glad to be alive and well.
For one reason, the TV program is off her list and she’s received messages on their Facebook page and WhatsApp group commending her for enlightening the populace on the challenges PLWHAs face.
There is also some light as businesses and other organizations have communicated their willingness to partner them in their activities and that makes her glad indeed.
She presses the power button of her laptop and waits for it to boot.
Then she visits the PLWHAs WhatsApp platform to share a motivational message and remind members of their emergency meeting that evening.
She opens her favourite playlist and clicks play all.
When the soft uplifting and lovely music start rolling, she attends to her email and sorts them.
She turns her attention to the documents in her pending tray when she is done with the emails and buries herself in it.
She is halfway through the items on her pending tray when the door to her office opens and a smiling Dorcas walks in after knocking.
“There’s someone in the conference room to see you.”
“Conference room? Who is it?”
“I’m not supposed to tell, please. She says it’s a surprise. Please come and don’t ask me anything more. I’m so thrilled.”
Alicia looks at the well behaved Executive Assistant who is giggling like a teenager who has just been kissed and wonders what the charade is all about.
“Ok, tell the mystery visitor, I’ll join her soon.” Alicia says and goes back to the document in front of her.
She is sure Naa Dede is back from her business trip and wants to surprise her.
“You don’t understand, you have to come with me right now. In fact, I was ordered to come with you three minutes ago. Please!”
Alicia looks into the pleading eyes of the sweet girl staring down at her and gets to her feet. She picks up her phone and walks out unwillingly.
She can see everyone smiling or giggling at something as she makes her way down to the Conference Room.
Alicia opens the door to the conference room and her eyes open wide to express the pleasant shock on her face.
Alicia looks back at Dorcas confused and elated.
Dorcas, who has accompanied her to the door nods and smiles.
“Come here, girl. I just needed to see you. I’m so proud of you.” The lady says as she gets to her feet. She opens her arms for a bear hug.
Alicia practically runs into her outstretched arms.
She cannot hide her joy and surprise.
It is really a privilege of a lifetime to have the First Lady of the country visiting you.
“Good day, Ma’am!”
“Good day, young lady. I told myself yesterday after I watched the “Making a Difference Show” that I was going to see you first thing today. I’m really proud of you for what you are doing for people living with HIV. Not many people will go public with their HIV status. You touched my heart yesterday with your eloquence and commitment. I know what you want to achieve and I’m here to offer a hand of support.”
“I’m really honoured by your presence, Ma’am. Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me.”
“Come, sit with me and let’s chat over coffee. I want to know everything else about you but most importantly I want you to tell me what you would need us to look at for people living with HIV/AIDS in the next two years. Health is one of my priorities as the First Lady of this country.”
Alicia takes a seat after preparing coffee for herself and the First Lady, Her Excellency Emerald Efe Lamptey.
The two ladies chat for close to an hour and by the time the one in a million-surprise visit is over, Alicia has presented three things they will want her to support the Group on.
First, she tells her they would like to embark on a nation-wide Awareness and Testing Campaign. She explained that they could start with the regions and then move to the districts.
The second item on Alicia list, which she knew is like asking for the moon is a specialist hospital for PLWHAs. She explains that although the various hospitals take care of them, she believes a one stop shop for all their medical needs would ensure they get timely and efficient care.
She adds that a Forum of sorts for PLWHAs will go a long way to help people living with the disease get up-to-date information and answers to their problems or questions.
The First Lady’s Personal Assistant, Beatrice Maame Afua Baah, who has joined them takes notes of the activities Alicia mentions.
The First Lady takes pictures with Alicia and her colleagues and they part ways.
Later that evening, Alicia feeling exhausted from work, lays in bed with her phone as Curtis catches up on some TV programs he has missed during the week.
The facilitator of their online meeting calls everybody to order and offers the opening prayer.
She states that the purpose of the meeting was to report on the launch of The Journey of Hope Group and outline its course of action in the next three years.
She updates members on the composition of the Executive Council and introduces the Coordinator and other staff members, all PLWHAs, who have volunteered to work pro bono until the finances of the Group improves.
Alicia updates members on her encounter with the First Lady and asks members to pull resources together to present a formal proposal to the First Lady in the three areas mentioned as soon as possible.
The facilitator presents a workplan and a budget to members for consideration.
After deliberations and careful analysis members agree to carry out Education and Testing Campaigns in the first year and organize at least one forum for PLWHAs in Ghana.
She stresses the fact that the group needed all hands on deck since they would need some funding to do what they have put together.
Members agree on a list of sponsors to be contacted for the said activity.
It is also agreed that the Group will lead the campaign of forming regional, district and community HIV Associations in the country.
A three-member committee is formed to look at developing the proposal to be submitted to the First Lady.
The meeting closes and members fraternize as usual.
Alicia might have dozed off because when she came to, they are over two hundred threads.
She checks and sees that a lady, known only as Mhiz T on the platform has shared a heart-breaking story.
Alicia scans through her post with moist eyes.
“I am twenty-five years old. I met this guy a few years back. We clicked almost immediately. He was everything I wanted in a guy, handsome, sensitive, sweet, kind, caring, you name it. We dated for about six months with plans of getting married the coming year. Things progressed so fast I was sure he was the one.
I gave him my all without holding anything back. I practically lived in his apartment in a plush area against my parent’s best advice. And then I went home one day to get a few things and when I came back he was nowhere to be found. He has vanished into thin air. I tried calling him but his line was off. I saw a note on the dining table with my name on it when I was cleaning later in the day.
The long and short of the message was that he had HIV and is not interested in settling down with me or anyone for that matter. He just wants to infect as many people as he could with the deadly virus. You can just imagine my shock, frustration and fear. I was very broken. My legs gave and I fell heavily. I don’t remember how I got home that day and recounted the story to my mom, a nurse by profession. She cried all her tears that day. I got tested a few weeks after that and I was positive.
All attempts to locate Mr. Mystery Man failed. He has changed his phone numbers and stopped going to the places he took me when we were together. I was left with nothing not even a picture of him. I was really lost until a friend told me about this group. And I quit my job and waited for death to take me but being here has changed a lot of things. I’ve decided to live and if I’m lucky enough, fall in love and raise a family. I’ve just secured a job in a multinational company and I’m going to give it my best shot. Thank you all for doing this. Thank you for giving me my life back. It has really helped me.”
Members urges her on and offer advice and motivation.
Alicia falls asleep again and sleeps till the next morning.[stextbox id=”info” caption=”JOIN US ON WHATSAPP“]
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