“I was the second born of four children,” says Mildred. “Three girls and one boy. And I had only one mother and one father.”
During childhood, Mildred was an athlete. She loved sports, but she couldn’t play them at school, because she had to drop out before she reached high school. It’s a story like many others in her country -- with very little money to cover school fees, there is no opportunity to receive an education.
“Things are much more difficult today because of this,” Mildred explains.
Later, Mildred went to work as a house girl in Kisumu. She stayed there for what she says was “quite some time” and then got married in 1988. Within five years, she and her husband had become parents to three healthy children, the last of which was born in 1993. Sadly, Mildred’s husband died just a year later.
“I knew I needed something,” she says. “I knew I must pray.” And pray she did. Thankfully, Mildred was able to continue working as a house girl until 1998 when she started her own business selling goods such as cereal, rice, bananas, avocados, and eggs. When she started getting sick, Mildred went to get tested and was diagnosed with HIV. Despite this terrible news, she kept moving forward.
“I was not afraid of finding out my status,” she says, “because I had my children and I knew I couldn’t be afraid. There are many people sicker than I am. But I was still working. I still have a place to sleep. I saw that God loved me and this made me strong enough.”
Eventually, Mildred joined the program at her local CARE for AIDS center, where she and her family learned more about the Bible, and she was able to receive education, additional nutrition, and emotional support.
“Because I am saved, I see that my life is not bad,” she says. “And I pray a lot. I want to keep developing my business so I can build my own house and send my children to school.”
Mildred's story is one of 100 CARE for AIDS client and staff member stories recorded in our coffee table book, 100 Faces. Learn more about this project here.