“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~Mahatma Ghandi
“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” ~Buddha
In a previous blog, I recounted the tale of my very first HIV/AIDS test in a Voluntary Counseling and Testing center (VCT) in Kenya at the Mombasa trade fair.
At the end of that blog post I mentioned "In three months, I will go take the test again. I can only imagine what I will be thinking/feeling at that time."
So it is that exactly 3 months after my first test, on Friday November the 13th, I went to a clinic where Rachel works. Though she was not here at the time, I enjoyed a conversation with the staff at the clinic answering the typical question "umepotea wapi?" (Eng: Where have you been lost?). I replied "kazi tu, baado niko shule" (Eng: just working, I'm still at the school).
After about half an hour or so of just chatting, I mentioned to that I was stopping by that day to get tested.
Having been tested before, I thought I would be less fearful of testing positive. Now at this point, the testing procedure was the same as before (brief recap):
First of all, the counselor asked me some things to gage how much information about HIV transmission I know.
Then, the counselor then continued to ask for some information to fill out a form (not including my name).
Next, the counselor and I discussed the testing procedure. Then with little warning, the counselor pricked my finger and gathered enough blood for the test.
During the waiting for the test to be complete, we briefly discussed my role in the community (US PCV; teaching at North Eastern Province Technical Training Institute; working with NGOs) etc.
Then the test results: Negative. I breathed a sigh of relief.
We briefly discussed ways to prevent infection once again and then after that I returned to talking with the clinic staff I was hanging out with.
Realizing I have taken every precaution to prevent myself from getting HIV/AIDS (while still treating people living with HIV/AIDS as human beings) I was still somewhat concerned that there might have been something I missed.
Something was different this time, though, compared to the first test. This time I knew how the test would proceed and yet even knowing this I was still concerned that I might be infected. Yet even though I was fearful of the results, I knew that it did not matter. I knew that whatever the results were, this is what the results are meant to be. No matter whether I were to have tested positive or negative, I knew that the results would have been the way things are meant to be and that I would continue to live my life's purpose either way: A life of service.