A nice day out

A pretty story.

Naked men, women and children, some of them in chains to prevent them escaping, cower in front of the men in charge in a dimly-lit room in the church of St Mary on Mount Entoto…The church…sits above a mountain stream, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church believes the stream is holy water with the power to cure HIV/Aids…Plastic jerry cans are filled with water from a pool, and passed along a human chain to priests dressed like deep sea fishermen. The bright yellow waterproofs protect them from the drenching they administer to their congregation. They hurl the water over the mass of people kneeling in front of them who shriek and scream, either through devotion or the simple shock of the cold water hitting their naked flesh…The church claims that more than a thousand people have been cured in the past two years. And yet the head priest Father Geberemedhen admitted to me that only the newly diagnosed are likely to be helped…”We don’t allow patients to take medication if they want to receive holy water,” he told me. That means they must stop taking the antiretrovirals which prevent the disease taking hold, and prolong the life of those who carry the HIV virus.

Jesus saves. Or not.

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