Thursday, May 20, 2010
Mark Dunbar displays a copy of the manual he hopes to reproduce. (Photo: Pat Roxborough-Wright)
MONTEGO BAY, St James — IT'S not the best of times for 34-year-old Mark Dunbar. He's homeless, out-of pocket and struggling to overcome the stigma associated with the HIV/AIDS virus he has been living with for close to a decade.
To make things worse, he was released from prison recently only to realise that his wife of three years had packed up and left him.
Nevertheless he's convinced that he can turn it all around with the help of a good Samaritan.
"I am willing to work and can. I still have the weed wacker that the Child Development Agency (CDA) gave me two years ago and it is still working. I just need some money to buy a backstrap so that I can manoeuvre it and some parts," he told the Observer West recently.
A former ward of the state, Dunbar has been trying to get his act together since going on his own as a teenager. But although things began to look up for him when he got married and acquired the weed wacker from the CDA, life soon began to spiral downwards as he got caught up in controversy after controversy with his neighbours and in-laws.
Things hit rock bottom two months ago when he was imprisoned for malicious destruction of property, a charge he says he's innocent of.
Now he's out and ready to try again.
"My wife says she's scared of me... that I ran her down with gun and knife and machete... I can't even run properly... why would I do that? I would like to have her back, but I don't have a home. I need to get myself sorted out with some parts for the weed wacker so that I can try again," he said.
"I know I have an important story to tell as a survivor of this disease and I am hoping to work on a book to tell it. All I need is another helping hand... please," he added.
my two cents:
Where is Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) for this? they were quite visible in western Jamaica only recently in the Walk for Tolerance or Gay Rights march in disguise however you want to put it. This shouldn't have to reach media if they are really interested in solving problems of PLWHAs or maybe they were busy working on the IDAHO silent protest in Kingston to pay attention to clients who are poor and really need help. LGBT/HIV policy level issues seem more important these days than the actual conditions of possible or current clients that require urgent interventions despite their sexual orientations.
They should stick to the activities they were set up for in the first place but with all the incestuous relationships with other groups what do you expect? Taking this case may just be the chance for them to redeem themselves from the image fallout while reminding themselves of what they ought to be doing. Worse case scenario I would hate to think that this man's plight is being used to promote an agenda of repairing their image.
This is a sad story, wish there was something more that could be done in the short term. Despite the high knowledge base on the subject of HIV/AIDS from the national programs, stigma and crap like this is still happening.
Peace and tolerance
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it