December 1 is World AIDS Day and Basida, Spain’s largest home for AIDS patients, has been serving them for more than 25 years, opening its first home in 1990.
It is situated on a 30 acre compound in Aranjuez, a town 25 miles south of Madrid. Currently residing there are four families with eight children at risk of social exclusion as well as 44 other individuals.
This initiative began with a group of young people from a parish in Aranjuez who committed themselves to live the Gospel in a radical way and to help those most in need. This commitment and project has grown to include two other homes, one in Avila with 30 patients in rehabilitation, and one in Ciudad Real with 20.
Cristina Alonso, a member of the Basida board of directors and a teacher, told ACI Prensa, “the cornerstone of Basida is faith. We respect everyone’s beliefs, but those who live in this home see what our life is like, based on the Gospel, and there are those who participate in this option and adopt this Christian way of living.”
In their 27 years of service, Basida has cared for 800 patients. Their main objective is to offer a family and a home to the sick where they can be treated and physically or psychologically recover, or if it comes to it, die with dignity.
Patients suffer from a variety of conditions such as HIV, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and other illnesses associated with drug addiction and alcoholism.
This ministry is accomplished thanks to 70 volunteers, 20 of whom permanently reside at the home, and include doctors, nurses, and psychologists.
Their facilities include three houses for detox, a residence, a building for volunteers, and a chapel.
In addition, occupational training workshops are offered, as well as personalized therapies and psychological help.
Alonso said that the staff at Basida has had professional training in rehabilitation work and medical care.
“Behind this entire project we see there is something greater than ourselves that moves it forward, which is the hand of God, the providence that is clearly and constantly shown,” she told ACI Prensa.
Alonso said that during the 27 years she has been serving at Basida “there have been many very difficult moments where you saw people die.” But “even though it was so hard, those were beautiful experiences because you were sharing with them their last moments of life and accompanying them so they could make that passage in peace.”
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.