Esther is originally from Kisumu, but migrated to Mombasa for a job opportunity, where she eventually got married. She and her husband lived together in Mombasa for a year, and in 2002 she gave birth to a baby boy. The man, however, did not provide for the baby- in the middle of all of this Esther came to find out that he was married to three other women.
Life became horrible for her in Mombasa, so she went back to her rural home in Kisumu- about a one hour drive away from Kisumu town. Her intention in moving home was to simply move home to die so that her family would not be troubled with her burial.
When she was living with her mother at home she became very sick and the situation got out of hand, so her aunt took her from her mother’s home and brought her to Kisumu town – there she went to a hospital to be treated. She then moved in with her aunt to be closer to the hospital. Esther’s aunt knew about CARE for AIDS, so she invited the center workers to her home to meet Esther. When they went to talk to her and enroll her into the program, though, she denied her status and would not speak to them. She was so embarrassed and aftraid. Through persistence, the aunt helped get her into Nanga Center.
When she went to the center, Irene and Eric (the Spiritual and Health Counselors) knew her condition and became close friends with her. They knew how difficult is was to get through to her so they payed close attention to her and engaged her- they asked her to help serve in the church so she felt included and the opportunities to serve and help with seminars gave her a lot of self-worth.
One of the seminars that Esther attended was about how to make homemade peanut butter. Esther embraced what she learned in this seminar, and now makes delicious peanut butter in her home. She sells it in town and supplies it to some wealthy Kenyans…she does quite well now and can support her son, who is now 12 years old. He is in school and is thriving. Esther also now financially supports the aunt who helped her get into the program.
We are all so proud of Esther, and she is doing so well, in fact, that she got married three weeks ago (April 5th). Her husband is also HIV+, and they both understood how to live together and take care of one another.