Meet Esther

Esther Kabura understands what it means to serve. Before she joined the CARE for AIDS team, she worked as a volunteer with an organization that housed struggling young women.

“They were very young and couldn’t do anything for themselves,” she says sadly. “Almost a year after I finished college in 2008, I joined that house and gave them food and washed them. There were so many. But God gave me a chance to serve.”

Later, Esther took a course called Community Development where she learned the hard facts about HIV and its impact on communities. Ultimately, this course led her to an interview with CARE for AIDS.

“I had left that house and got married,” she says. “I asked God, ‘Please can you give me a job where I can keep serving?”

So He did. But, in the beginning, there was uncertainty about how to help victims of the disease, because there was no guarantee they would reach out for help, even if help was offered. But God paved a way, just as He always had.

“One person came in [to the center], so we explained to him what we needed, what we wanted. And through that [visit], more people came,” Esther says. “And now we have finished our third year. But we face a lot. We have to tell people ‘this is not the way of living.’ I go to where they live to help them learn how to cook, clean, and bathe. Their food needs to be clean. Hygiene is important. They learn that to have God is to be clean…not only on the inside but also on the outside.”

Esther says that the most important work she can do with CARE for AIDS is to make sure members of the program know HIV is not the end. And the response is not only positive, it’s life-changing.

“They appreciate the work we are doing,” Esther says with a smile. “Even people who are not in the program have become saved. And I thank God for this organization.”


Esther's story is one of 100 CARE for AIDS staff and client stories told in our coffee table book project- 100 Faces. 

Meet Claris

“I used to spend a lot of time thinking about death,” admits Claris Anyango Owonda. “When I found out I was positive, I felt as though I had lost everything in my life.”

But, with time, Claris began to understand that she wasn’t alone. And despite everything she was suffering, there were still joys to experience.

At just thirty-three years old, Claris has been living with HIV for a long time. But she kept it to herself for many years, afraid to even share the news with her husband. And her challenges only grew once he discovered he was negative and ultimately chose to abandon Claris and their child because of it.

Afterwards, Claris found hope in CARE for AIDS.

“The center helped me realize I needed to keep going for my family,” she says. “Now I sell kids’ products to earn a living. I rent a house. I make a bit of profit. When we don’t have enough to eat, they make sure we get food. And I have ideas about how to start a small business now because of the seminars they host…they give me hope that I might even live long enough to see my great-grandbabies.”

And, by the grace of God, Claris’ family is whole again.

“My husband forgave me for not telling him,” she says. “And he came back to us.”

Living with HIV hasn’t slowed Claris down nor has it dampened her faith.

“I get encouragement through other people like me,” she explains. “I was down, but through prayers, through support groups, through friendships, I am up again.”

“I am going to die, yes,” she continues. “Like everyone. But I will also live again in heaven.”


 

 

Truth

Did you know that someone living with HIV can live a normal, healthy life-span? Furthermore, did you know that with proper treatment someone living with HIV can get the virus to such a low level in their body that it is undetectable in a test? Someone on treatment who is this healthy can be married and have children without any risk of passing of the virus passing to their loved ones because of how low the virus is in their body. 

That's the truth. 

Someone living with HIV is told something different. They are told when they are tested with HIV that their life is over. I've met numerous people who were told by their doctor, "go home and start digging your grave. There is no hope for you."

Did you know that you are a child of God? You are dearly loved. You were created uniquely and beautifully in the image of God. Despite the brokenness in and around you, there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

That's the truth.

Someone living with HIV is often told something different. They are told that they are broken beyond repair. They are told that they are living with the consequence of their sin. That they are unloved, and unworthy of love. 

CARE for AIDS exists to bring the truth to people living with HIV in East Africa. We mobilize the local church to speak and teach the truth, and in doing so are giving hope to thousands of men and women living with HIV, and empowering them to change the trajectory of their families for generations to come. 

Thank you for partnering with us in this great work. 


Visiting Stanley

This morning's post comes to us from CARE for AIDS supporter and board member, Kylie White. Kylie is one of the volunteers leading the charge in Families for Families, an initiative supporting CARE for AIDS. Learn more about Families for Families here


Just when we thought we were done with home visits for the day, a man came up to us calling to Samson, the spiritual counselor. He wanted us to come to his home.

Stanley was a tall lean man, 36 years old living in a small room. His wife and two children live in the up country where she works in a salon. He found work in security in Mombasa so they currently live apart, just visiting each other from time to time. Stanley learned he was HIV positive in 2004 before marrying his wife, when his factory employer tested all employees.

"I thought my world had come to an end, I panicked" he explained.

He said after his results in 2004 he tried to forget about the diagnosis so he wouldn't carry the weight of it every day. But after meeting his soon to be wife, he knew he needed to share before getting married. She was actually positive as well, so they got married in 2006 and had their first child. He started to share with us how a friend of his had introduced him to CARE for AIDS and how excited he was to have someone to talk to about his AIDS journey.

We asked him his hopes for the program, since he is only a few months in. He shared that he hopes to move forward in his walk with the Lord. He said he is glad he will learn how to take his medicine and nutrition properly and that he is thankful for the opportunity to share his struggles and receive spiritual counseling from Samson.

We told Stanley how proud we were of him, as a man, to take the stand to get help and be vulnerable in counseling. He expressed he still hasn't shared his status with friends and neighbors, but knows the CARE for AIDS program will give him the courage to live positively. I am prayerful that God will take a man like Stanley and encourage other Kenyan men to rise up and get help and healing, and that the best place to find that help will be in the local church, the light of the world. 


Interested in going on an Impact Trip to Kenya this year? Learn more about our trips here. 

Welcome to Tanzania!

We are thrilled to officially announce our expansion into Dar es Salaam, Tanzania! We are in the process of launching our first two centers in this new region and we couldn't be happier with the excitement and warm welcomes we have experienced. The first two communities we are working in are Mburahati and Vingunguti. Please keep these communities in your prayers! 

From Regional Coordinator Emmanuel: "Pray for us as we continue to search for the right church partnerships, recruit new staff members, and work to empower the church in Tanzania to care for those who are most vulnerable."

Hear from Emmanuel below: 


Meet our new Tanzanian staff members below: