Open Eyes

“This program has opened my eyes in more ways than one.”

– Millicent, graduate from Kiambiu center

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Millicent is a single mother of two boys. Her husband died when the children were still very young and she’s been their sole provider ever since. Millicent’s husband died of complications from Tuberculosis and less than a year after he passed, she began getting sick also. At the hospital, Millicent tested positive for HIV, which led her to assume that her husband had been positive as well.

In 2003, Millicent was involved in a car accident that caused trauma to her head. She went to the hospital for treatment, but didn’t have the money to pay for the necessary tests and prescriptions. At the time, she was working in Naivasha picking flowers for a flower farm, but she started suffering from severe headaches.

Eventually, she had to quit her job and move back to Homa Bay in western Kenya. While in Home Bay, Millicent struggled to find ways to make money to send her kids to school. She decided to move again, this time to Nairobi, to work in a new job as a house manager. She was open with the family she worked for about being HIV-positive. Unfortunately, whenever the children who lived in this home got any type of sickness, the parents would blame Millicent and her HIV status for their illness. She was let go after 6 months.

Millicent started getting desperate. She no longer had a salary to pay school fees or rent, so she moved in with her cousin’s family and began doing whatever daily work she could find. Her eyes and head were bothering her more and more; often leaving her completely debilitated. Her cousin noticed the severity of Millicent’s pain and that she often wasn’t able to sleep, so she took Millicent to the hospital for a consultation. The doctor affirmed that her injury from years ago was likely the culprit of the pain she was experiencing, but he also prescribed glasses for her, noting that her poor vision was also contributing to her headaches. Unfortunately, Millicent didn’t have the money to pay for the glasses.

Not long after this, Millicent decided to start a small business selling fruits and vegetables in a stand by the roadside. She slowly began making enough to support herself again and was able to rent a home of her own. While she was working at her stand one morning, she met Anne and Jacob, the CARE for AIDS counselors at Kiambiu center. After hearing about what they do, she confided in them that she was HIV-positive and she was invited to join the CARE for AIDS program.

Grateful for all she was learning and the counseling she was receiving from Jacob and Anne, Millicent kept quiet about her pain and eye problems. She did not want to be a burden to the people who were already helping her. Over time, however, Jacob and Anne caught on to Millicent’s terrible headaches and poor eye sight. They approached her about it and she decided to show them the papers from her hospital visit from almost a year ago. After reading the doctor’s notes, Jacob and Anne were able to send Millicent back to the doctor for another consultation. They used the medical endowment fund to purchase prescription glasses for Millicent.

Her improvement was immediate. Millicent says the CARE for AIDS program has opened her eyes in more ways than one. She learned not to be ashamed or embarrassed of her medical issues and that there are people willing to help you find the care you need. She just graduated from the program in Kiambiu and is very grateful for everything she has learned.

A total of $48 was spent on Millicent’s care. When you give to CARE for AIDS you can help support simple medical interventions like this! Learn more about how you can support our work here.