Serious Fun: UWI HARP on Research Day

Ms. Yolanda Paul takes her work seriously – but with enormous humor and a sense of fun. That sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true. Yolanda is a Trinidadian “import” of the nicest possible kind, an avid fan of soca music, and also one of the most hard-working women I know. You will find her at the University of the West Indies HIV/AIDS Response Programme (UWI HARP) office on Kingston’s Mona Campus.

The huge, air-conditioned white tent on the University of the West Indies’ Kingston campus was vibrating with music as I approached and entered. Inside was a maze of compartments and sectioned-off displays, each demonstrating a different department and area of research. One of the most popular was a large exhibit on the lion fish – an invasive species that is gobbling up much of our marine life.

The University of the West Indies HIV AIDS Response Program (UWIHARP).
The University of the West Indies HIV AIDS Response Program (UWIHARP).

But where was Ms. Paul’s spot? At last I found it… Tucked into a corner. We had severe congestion problems during the course of the day, I must say. My camera lens is experiencing challenges (a slight blur), which seems to me a good excuse to buy a new one, when I can afford to. But I did my best to capture a few priceless moments. Here are just a few…

A note about UWI HARP: The University of West Indies HIV/AIDS Response Programme (UWI HARP) is an accelerated institutional response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic across the entire University – on the campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago as well as in the extramural centres scattered throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. Established in 2001, UWI HARP is a multidisciplinary group dedicated to using the expertise of the University to work with other committed partners in combating HIV/AIDS and mitigating its impact.  It conducts workshops and training and participates in numerous events promoting awareness, providing information and engaging audiences on issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It provides consultancies and has a resource center on campus. Contact UWI HARP at: (876) 977 5134; email: uwiharpmona@uwimona.edu.jm.

Survey time...
Survey time…
Another beautiful expression by a visitor to the UWIHARP booth.
Another beautiful expression by a visitor to the UWIHARP booth.
More fun and discussion at the condom demonstration table.
More fun and discussion at the condom demonstration table.
This fashionable couple stopped by our booth and recorded their views.
This fashionable couple stopped by our booth and recorded their views. We discussed issues of discrimination, diversity and tolerance with our visitors.
Good company was to be had while hanging out at the UWIHARP booth. Yolanda Paul, Ricky Pascoe and Shaquani McKenzie.
Good company was to be had while hanging out at the UWIHARP booth. Yolanda Paul, Ricky Pascoe and Shaquani McKenzie.
Rainbow… One of the artistic expressions created by our visitors.
Rainbow… One of the artistic expressions created by our visitors.
A key message. As usual there was great demand for the free HIV testing, which took place outside.
A key message. As usual there was great demand for the free HIV testing, which took place outside. Oh, and we were giving away free condoms (two each) and at times had to prevent some would-be studs from pocketing a handful of them…
What do you think of this question? Our visitors filled out mini-surveys seeking to gauge the level of awareness of, and attitudes to, HIV/AIDS and discrimination.
What do you think of this question? Our visitors filled out mini-surveys seeking to gauge the level of awareness of, and attitudes to, HIV/AIDS and discrimination.
The condom demonstration by two ladies from Eve for Life sparked much laughter, fascia
The condom demonstration by two ladies from Eve for Life sparked much laughter, fascination and comment. Even a crowd, at times…
Two amazing ladies, Latoya and Yolanda - great people to work with!
Two amazing ladies, Latoya and Yolanda – great people to work with! Latoya provided us with meaningful audio-visual footage (except that I kept standing in front of the projector and blocking the picture – did I mention there was a space problem?)
Yolanda Paul of UWIHARP expertly tackles a group of students in our cramped space. It was a slam dunk. Sorry about the mixed sporting metaphors there...
Talking safe sex…Yolanda Paul of UWIHARP expertly tackles a group of students in our cramped space. It was a slam dunk. Sorry about the mixed sporting metaphors there…
I think we would hate the lion fish more if it wasn't so attractive. Here a Rastafarian man latched on to the "lion" concept to pose for his picture.
I think we would worry about the lion fish more if it wasn’t so attractive. Here a Rastafarian man latched on to the “lion” concept to pose for his picture in front of the splendid booth.

8 thoughts on “Serious Fun: UWI HARP on Research Day

    1. Thanks – yes, despite all the problems there are many really good things happening that are also effective! I just try to find those things that I can see will have an impact. Thanks, Carol!

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