Kawangware is a community on Northwestern outskirts of Nairobi. The densely populated slum borders an affluent neighborhood of Nairobi, creating a stark contrast between lifestyles. CARE for AIDS started operations at the center in Kawangware in partnership with the Free Pentecostal Church of Kenya in 2011. Peter Gacheru and SalomeIthige serve as the center's Spiritual and Health Counselors.
Spiritual Counselor: Peter Gacheru Mbuthia
Peter, the center's spiritual counselor, has been employed with CFA since 2015. He was brought up in Nairobi in a family of ten siblings. Peter has a degree in social work and desires to continue learning so that he might help others and lead a healthy family. His message to all supporters is, "You are doing a good job which only God can reward since anyone who gives to the poor lends to God.”
Maria learned her status in 2013 during a hospital visit for typhoid. The doctor shared her status with her mother rather than her. Her mother threw her out and told her family and friends about her status. Maria's daughter stayed with her mom but her son moved out with her.
Maria had a hard time accepting her status. For a long time, she didn't take her medicine. In 2014 when she was hospitalized again, her doctor even yelled at her about not taking meds. She shared with us that she wanted to die and she hated herself. A lady at the hospital counseled her and began educating her about how HIV is spread and precautions to take with her children. Her son (12) began to ask questions about why the lady told him not to share utensils with his mom. Maria asked her son if he would accept her if she was HIV+. He said he would and that his teacher at school had talked to the students about HIV. He cared for her and made sure she took her medicine.
Maria is Muslim. Her Muslim friends do not know her status and they wouldn't be nice to her or accept her. Maria found out about CARE for AIDS from a friend. She was shy at first but she came to understand she is not alone. Her boldness increased through the program. She feels free and has met many friends. She loved the prayer of people in the program. "Salome is like my mother now." She learned lots of skills including candle making. She cooks for a living now.