April 18, 2012
When you meet and interact with Ann, a widow, a mother of four but only two who are alive, you may not notice what she has gone through in her life. When you hear her full story, the talk is of sickness, separation, stigma, death, and rejection, but praise Jesus today Ann has the biggest smile you may think or expect from a hopeful person!
Ann was married and blessed with four children, one girl and three boys. Ann’s husband was working as a mechanic with the police mechanical unit. He fell sick and within a short time died. Ann never knew by that time what killed her husband. After two years she also fell sick and she was very weak. She visited many hospitals without much improvement on her health. She was diagnosed with TB which made her admitted in hospital for several weeks and later discharged after having been introduced to medication. After finishing the TB doses she fell sick again with infection to a point she was bed ridden for one year. During this second sickness in 2008 was the time she was diagnosed as HIV positive. This was not easy for her since she didn’t have any hope for her future or the future for her children, since she was the sole bread winner.
Ann was introduced to ARV medication, and this helped her through to a point that she was able to walk again and start doing her daily work, though she was weak and challenged on where to start. Her status was known to many people and this created a lot of stigma not only to her but also to her children. She had to transfer her kids from the school where they were schooling since everyone in the school was talking about a family living with HIV and AIDS, and it was not easy for the children.
The following year she lost her second born and third born kids to HIV-related illnesses; this was again not easy for her and the family. After she overcame the grief of her children, she took her daughter and son for HIV test. The daughter turned negative and the son turned positive. It was not again easy for her to accept the reality of her son’s status. All the time she could see death in her family. She encouraged herself and she decided that she is going to live and her son is going to live too. The son was introduced to ARV medications and up to today he is using the medication and he is now a big boy in grade eight.
Though Ann has accepted herself, it has not been easy again for her to relate with other people in the community. All along she has been eager to know and join a group of people who are living with the virus. Early this year 2012, she was privileged to be among the eighty clients we recruited in Kamirithu CARE for AIDS center for the current phase. More than her expectation, at the center she not only found a fellowship of people living with HIV and AIDS but also a Christian environment where she will grow spiritually. In her third month at the center, she has attended several seminars and has learned how to improve on hygiene to avoid opportunistic infections, deal with stigma and so on. She is eager to attend future seminars and learn various skills.
Ann so far has been one of the best clients we have at the center. She is very honest and very committed and she has not missed any of our seminars and center days. Ann has found a group that has been of great encouragement to her and to her family. She has been very welcoming even in her home and she has even hosted a vision trip team for a dinner in her home. She is looking forward to the remaining months to learn new skills that she can utilize to become fully self reliant in her life as she looks after her two children – Martha who is in college doing an accounts course and her son Gedion who is sitting for his grade eight national exam this year. May you pray with her for her kids’ education, her health and her son’s health.
May God bless her life and her children AMEN!!!