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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 15:05 UK

Lesotho Aids diary: Lay counsellor

The BBC, in conjunction with Medecins Sans Frontieres, has been following the lives of seven people from the community of St Rodrigue, in Lesotho, as they struggle to live with and work through the country's HIV/Aids crisis. This is the final instalment.


Joseph Ramokoatsi | Lay counsellor | St Rodrigue

Counsellor Joseph Ramokoatsi

We're in negotiations with teachers from the primary school to start a new football team.

Exercise is very important - some of my patients are very weak and I encourage them to walk from their village to the clinic just to get that exercise.

I already work with a football team with people under 20 years old. The team is called Lihaba, which means 'Small Pumpkin'.

It's a bit difficult because we are short of goalkeepers.

Other than that it's going well except when schools are open, as the players go to different schools in different areas. But when the schools are shut, the team is good.

When you do exercise you feel good in your head as well as in your body

I encourage the players to practice even when they are in school so they maintain their fitness for when they come back.

This is my job so far. I wish to expand with time, but due to my salary it will take time.

No patients from the clinic play regularly - I am the only one that I know of with a positive HIV status.

I encourage those with HIV to play but many of them have jobs. They play when they can, on weekends and holidays.

We play other villages and sometimes we win.

World Cup dream

I am very excited about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I want to actually go and see the games myself.

Counsellor Joseph Ramokoatsi
Singing is great for morale, says counsellor Joseph Ramokoatsi

Lesotho has a team but they didn't make it. My favourite team is the Orlando Pirates.

Exercise is very important because the medication we take can have some side effects.

The exercise helps with people's morale because when you do exercise you feel good in your head as well as in your body.

We also have a choir. This is great for morale too.

But the difference between football and singing is that with singing you feel good but you don't need so much energy, so the choir is easy for everyone to enjoy. I am a good singer.

We had a music competition last year between the 14 clinics. Music to us is like a language so we don't really write songs.

For example, we made up a song once about how the HIV/Aids programme supported by MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) is called "Selibeng sa Tsepo" which in our language means "Wellspring of Hope."

Now, we have t-shirts with the MSF logo that use part of the song to explain why HIV treatment provides hope, and why we need it in every clinic in Lesotho.


Read Joseph's first diary entry



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