Notes to broadcasters
Lesotho, formerly called Basutoland, is a mountainous country with staggering natural splendour and a breathtaking landscape. It is bordered on all sides by South Africa and has a population of about two million. It has the world’s highest HIV prevalence at 27.7%, though, because the population is small, in absolute numbers only about half a million are infected with HIV. That has resulted in the average life expectancy of Lesotho being very low – 37 years. Breadwinners, especially men, often go to work in South African mines and return home with HIV. Those unable to obtain treatment die, leaving behind widows and children. As a result, there are many households headed by children.
It is good to report that people are now able to seek medical treatment and get antiretroviral therapy, or ART. Treatment and drugs are free and HIV-positive people are now able to live longer and healthier lives. However, people living with the disease, especially widows and children, often suffer the dual pain of HIV infection and poverty. Resources are scarce and jobs are hard to come by. In order to help each other, People Living With AIDS, or PLWHAs, usually form support groups to tackle common problems.
The Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre is one such support group. It aims to empower families and communities by using a holistic and practical community-based approach to care and support. The Centre is located in the middle of the Thuathe Plateau in Berea District, which faces the beautiful Lesotho landscape and Maluti Mountains. According to the founder Malitlallo J. Majara, the centre has grown to be self-sufficient and caters not only to the needs of HIV-impoverished people, but also the nutritional and occupational needs of nearby communities. It offers a wide range of alternative and complementary therapies to vulnerable groups (HIV-positive or not), including massage, meditation, fitness exercises and open-air garden walks.
This script is a mini-drama based on an actual interview with the founder and participants of the Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre in October 2010. Informal interviews also took place between the author and two German interns who had volunteered at the Centre for about six months. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
Mphana: 30-year-old widow and mother of three
Ngopokin: 8 years old, first child and son of Mphana, orphaned by death of father
Mphor: 6 years old, second child and daughter of Mphana
Mateboho: 4 years old, daughter of Mphana and last child
Mputsoe: teacher and active member, HIV support group, Maseru
Modise: an elderly participant in the seminar on income generation and people new to HIV drugs
Moshoeshoe: administrative officer of the support group which Mphana joins.
Fade in local musical instrument playing, then fade out
- Contributed by: Lawrence Wakdet, pharmacist/public health practitioner, Institute of Human Virology, Kano, Nigeria
- Reviewed by: Lynn Van Lith, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs
- The Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre, Makujoe, Berea District, Lesotho, brochure, 2010.
- Lesotho Mountain Kingdom Tourist booklet, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, Maseru: www.ltdc.org.ls
- Interview with Malitlallo J. Majara, founder, The Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre, Makujoe, Berea District, Lesotho took place in October, 2010.
- Interview with two German interns at the Centre in October 2010.
- Informal chats with the Administrative Officer of Heso Organic and Integrated Therapeutic Centre, October 2010.
- Informal chats with a participant who cooks at the kitchen/restaurant, October 2010.