I met Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik last year when Masai Clinic was officially opened in Guelph, Ontario. We were introduced by the very dynamic Susan Watson who advocates for foreigh trained doctors , called IMGs (as if we were some kind of anti-missile weaponry). Anyway Susan is great and when she asked me to play for Anne Marie's Masai Clinic official opening, I agreed and went along with Fule and Bamidele Bajowa to perform. By the time the afternoon was over, we were very impressed with this woman who has fought for the rights of HIV positive patients in our tricity area. I think she used her personal funds to buy the building which houses the clinic in downtown Guelph. It was at the opening that she announced her decision to fight for Africa's HIV infected populations and particularly for the Lesotho project, spearheaded by Stephen Lewis and the Ontario Hospitals Association. Her aim is to raise $1,000,000 for the Lesotho HIV initiaitive. Since then we have provided some entertainment for some of the fundraisers here in Guelph which have been supported and organized by another amazing woman, Joanne McAuley. In the process Anne Marie has become a well sought after speaker. She has also won the Y(M)WCA Woman of Distinction Award for lifetime achievement.
Anne- Marie is of particular interest to me because like me, she is a trained physician. I have this feeling that our ages may not be that wide apart, but I could be wrong. Perhaps I'm way older! As a writer, I think of the contrasts that would work to enhance a great plot: while she works in the medical profession as a product of Canadian Medical Schools, I work in the arts due initially to frustrations in the (anti-missile ) IMG program. But I'm not complaining, the ARTS to me seem to be a gift from God and the many ancestors who passed on earth long before my time. I feel that I have received an inheritance of immense proportions which I am to direct in such a way to give ultimate glory to God and upliftment first to my fellow Africans and then to all others. Anyway I look forward to how my life as an artist evolves, especially considering the modern day needs of Africa and then the rest of the world. I imagine that the time will soon come when I can tie in medicine with the arts to fullfil the totality of who I am, as I straddle two countries and two continents to which I belong, Canada and Ghana; Africa and North America.
If you haven't given to Anne-Marie's initiative do so--- at least Ten bucks as James Gordon's song goes, "What is it to you?"
Please do something about HIV in Africa. There are many other smaller initiatives that need your help too!