December 13, 2012
The following is a guest post from Sarah Muthoni, Empowerment Coordinator with CFA…
Banana Hill Baptist Church is currently the oldest center in partnership with CARE for AIDS. The current group of clients at the center is the fourth since the Church partnered with CFA in the year 2009, this means that around 230 clients have already graduated from the program. Having being the Pastors wife in that church and a children Sunday school teacher, I am amazed by the children who have joined our church simply because they saw their parents’ life changed through the work of CFA at this church.
Take Brian and his brother Tom both of them are HIV+ as well as their mother Mercy Wangari. Before Mercy was enrolled in the CARE for AIDS program, she lived in poverty to the extent that Tom grew very weak. Their mother would leave them in a makeshift house to go look for food and they would stay the whole day with no food a cold dark dirty house, sometimes she would come back home frustrated and with no food which meant they would stay hungry the whole day and night. Tom seemed to be the one who was most affected by the situation, at one time when he was eight years old weighed 12kgs and his CD-4 count was 10.
His mother came to the church carrying Tom on her back like a seven months old baby. She was then recruited in the CFA program where she learned business skills. She went through counseling and attended seminars on overcoming stigma, nutrition and proper adherence to antiretroviral drugs. She practiced these for herself and the two boys. Today they are healthy. The church stepped in and helped Tom to start school at Karuri primary School because he had not yet started school even at the age of 8years, due to poor health and lack of funds. Today Mercy their mother sells groceries at Banana open air market. Every Sunday the two boys come to church with a smile, they have found a family where they are accepted and loved. Recently the two boys and their sister Monica joined the other children to a church children’s retreat at the Rock city gardens. Tom and his siblings can now afford a smile.
I believe Mercy’s story is a confirmation that when CARE for AIDS empowers men and women, the children are the beneficiaries.