Grace had given up. As she lay in her hospital bed, she knew she was going to die. Two weeks before, her children had helped her walk to the hospital for her check-up — she had been too weak to walk herself. This time, though, she hadn’t gone back home after the check-up. She was dying.
In 2010, Grace’s husband discovered he was HIV positive. In response, he decided to take his life. He drove his car into an oncoming truck. Their oldest son was in the car with him. The son survived, but is now physically disabled as a result of the crash. He had surgery on his right leg and his back, but is still crippled. Grace was left to deal with him and three other children.
After the incident, Grace became depressed and her health deteriorated. She rarely left the house expect for frequent hospital visits. She just kept getting sick. In 2012, she was admitted to the hospital and while there it was confirmed she was HIV positive. When she was released from the hospital, she went home to discover that she had been completely deserted. She lived on a compound of twenty houses where her husband’s family lived. After hearing that she was HIV positive, they all moved away. In a compound of twenty houses, Grace and her four children were now the only people.
Sick, widowed, deserted and now confirmed HIV positive, Grace could not see how to move forward. She had no way to care for herself or to provide for her children.
Grace’s sickness and depression worsened. She only left the house when she needed to go to the hospital. When her children weren’t helping her get to the hospital they were on the streets. She wasn’t in a position to have them in school and they were begging on the street to help support her hospital expenses and to eat.
In early 2014, Grace was completely bed-ridden and was close to death. She had been taking her antiretroviral treatment prescribed by her doctor for her HIV, but she was so malnourished that even when she was able to keep the drugs down they were ravaging her already weak body.
At one of her regular check-ups, her doctors saw how close to death she was and she was admitted. As far as she was concerned, this was the end. The worst part for her was wondering what would happen to her children when she was gone.
It so happened that a nurse who was newly assigned to her was a former CFA client. This nurse had gotten her job in large part due to her CFA certificate and a recommendation from CFA’s Health Counselor, Loise-Mary. The nurse convinced Grace to enroll in the program.
CFA’s counselors starting visiting her in the hospital and giving her the food supplements that are part of the program. As her body was given proper nutrition, Grace’s medicine started having a positive affect and her strength began to quickly return. After a few weeks, she was released from the hospital.
After being released, Grace could begin attending her CFA center days and empowerment seminars. The counseling she received and the community she found in the program helped her overcome her depression. With the business skills she learned in the empowerment seminars, she started a produce business. With the money earned, she enrolled her children in school. Her oldest son (who is still disabled) performed so well that he was given an academic scholarship to study at one of the best high-schools in the area.
Also as a result of counseling, Grace re-dedicated her life to Christ and reconciled with her family. She now attends church regularly with her mom.
Loise-Mary and Grace became great friends through the program. When they are around each other the joy and love between them is palpable. Lois-Mary loves to tell Grace’s story and when they are around each other, sometimes Lois-Mary’s eyes shine bright and her voice becomes serious and rich with meaning, and she says “Grace, you are my walking miracle. I thank God for you.”