Pozhet holds two Retreats each year, one a few hours north and one a few hours south of Sydney – to try and cater for people who live in regional areas. This Retreat was held in a Sport and Recreation Centre South of Sydney at the end of April, and the weather was fine.
We had 18 people, a group of men and women, partners and one lovely child, who came from all over NSW. On Friday evening Leo and Maxine welcomed the group and after a nice dinner, we settled in with introductions and some fun games to get us all acquainted. There were a few people who were recently diagnosed, and quite a few who have lived with HIV for years. Everyone seemed to be doing well. It’s a good thing to have a mix of people and personalities as people learn from each other.
Saturday morning we all set off canoeing, lead by our instructor Matt, and paddled up the river, some in one-man canoes, others in doubles. It’s a great opportunity for people to chat and have some fun and fresh air. The water was calm and sparkling and everyone enjoyed a leisurely paddle with no-one overboard.
Afterwards we all had a great lunch, some free time to connect and chat, and then on to our Workshop on Disclosure – an issue everyone has to negotiate at some point. Who to tell? Why? How? It was a useful discussion, with helpful tips and experiences shared, as well as legal and medical information, and of course Treatment and Prevention (preventing HIV transmission by maintaining an undetectable viral load). Have a browse around this site for more information.
Saturday night was perfect for a delicious BBQ and then a roaring campfire where we made traditional Damper and melted marshmallows.
Sunday morning was another sparkling day and we competed at Archery in teams. Lots of laughs, hits and misses.
Then it was time for lunch, a final group and farewells.
We’ve received great feedback from participants, and some of the recently diagnosed people left inspired and supported..
“I would like to thank the facilitators for keeping it fun and light but also at times serious so we can learn. And if you need it you can have space. Very happy, Thankyou” – one of the many lovely comments we received.
Thanks to South East Sydney for funding this great Retreat.
The next one will be in November so come along.