Meeting Jen

April 2015

This morning’s post comes to us from CARE for AIDS supporter and recent Impact Trip participant, Kylie White. 

I was curious of what meeting Jen would be like. She had graduated the CARE for AIDS program almost a year and a half previous. Her house was a modest wooden shed type in the hills near Limuru. As we hiked up the terrain to get to her home we passed a wood slatted outhouse and six chickens and a young cow. Jen arrived a few minutes later, her smile beaming from the back of a motorcycle taxi. She quickly ran up the hill to us and greeted us each with a huge hug and high fives. She unlocked the padlock on her home and invited us in. Inside she awoke her two 1 year old twins and sent them out to us. Chickens roamed in the house as she settled herself and us around the couches in the main room of the home. She talked of being on her deathbed a few months before the program. She had found out her HIV diagnosis and her husband left her with 3 children because of it. Now her source of income was gone. Time passed as her condition worsened and times grew desperate and then she heard from her husband again. He explained how he wanted to get back together and rebuild, however she was used for his advantage for a night and she became pregnant with twins.

Through the 9 month program she learned skills of how to take her medicine, how to raise chickens, how to be a part of a community again, how to find strength in the most hopeless of situations and how to find strength in Jesus. In her words, Jen explained that through all she learned through CFA “God has taken me from Dust to a palace” as she talked of being bedridden before and now raising chickens, selling potatoes and providing for her family as a single mom of 5 children aged 1-15. We asked her connection with CFA currently and she said “I am now courageous to tell people my status because If they don’t know from me how will they know how to heal?” She goes back frequently to empowerment sessions in the program and teaches other clients how to raise chickens for eggs and income. She also invites others to embrace their status instead of fearing stigma. She shows them her strength and the success and life hat still remains after an HIV diagnosis. As we sat around the small living quarters, she beamed as any mother would as she told us about how one of her sons has been ranked 1st in his class for 6 years. Potentially beating the odds of being raised by a single HIV+ mother living in poverty.

You could see the hope she had in her son. A cycle of poverty that would stop in her children. Her smile and positivity was so inspiring. Her spouting of scripture and the source of where she draws her strength was encouraging. She sent us away, having filled our cups with her joy and strength. It was a privilege to have met Jen, to see how she has risen above a statistic. She has become a beacon of hope in her community. It is such a privilege for our family to see people like Jen, that Jesus brought from literal death to life through the program of CARE for AIDS.