African Woman and Child Feature Service

Home Programmes Research and Content Development Documenting Voices of Women HIV Positive and Displaced , 10 Months on

HIV Positive and Displaced , 10 Months on

E-mail Print PDF

Internally Displaced Persons including children, who are living with the HIV/Aids virus, continue to battle with challenges in their attempt to regain some sense of normalcy, ten months after displacement.

Ann Muthoni has not been spared; life has not been the same again since she lost her livelihood.

“Having struggled to overcome the difficulties of living with the HIV virus for about ten years, this seemed like an insurmountable challenge,” says Muthoni in retrospective.

“I have passed many tribulations and eight years ago, I separated from my husband on allegations that I was practicing witchcraft, this was because he had sores and blisters common with HIV positive people.”

Her husband later succumbed to the disease.

For Muthoni, it has been like starting afresh; searching for antiretroviral drugs and fighting stigma among new friends wherever she has attempted to settle.

More importantly for her, the inability to educate her children was too much to bear.

Unable to withstand the strain, the 38-year-old mother of four children succumbed to depression and one side of her body became paralyzed for a few months.

Fortunately, Muthoni and her children have found refuge with close relatives at Kindere, Nyeri South district.

However, it has not been smooth sailing, rising above her depression and accepting the changes in her life have become daily challenges.

Staying strong in the face of stigma and accessing Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs) have been additional difficulties.

However, Muthoni has learnt that even in her darkest moments, light still shines through; after a lot of struggle and a disrupted medical routine, she was introduced to the Kenya Network of Women with HIV/Aids (Kenwa) offices in Nyeri town.

The offices are about 15 kilometers form her new home, at Kenwa, she was assisted with food, drugs and counseling.

Kenwa then referred her to the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital where she has been receiving drugs and counseling to date without any charges.

However, to lighten her load, her children moved in with relatives in Kiharu division in Murang’a district- 80 kilometers away from Kindere.

Her children have been her joy, her reason to remain strong.

Jane Kiragu, her first born child, is one of the brightest students at Kabare Secondary School. She will be sitting for her KCSE exams later this year.

Her last born child Duncan Kibe, who is 8 years old is in Standard Two. Her four children are all HIV negative.

To help her remain strong regardless of the many challenges, she has joined a group of women who have been living with HIV and who are very positive about life.

Although Muthoni has been fortunate, others have not “they still go without food and much needed ARV drugs,” she emphasizes.

In addition, Muthoni feels that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission should address the issues of land, tribalism and equality between the rich and poor in order to avoid such violence in 2012.

She also says that it would be a good gesture for the government to offer victims of violence compensation, in order to start small businesses as they try to resettle.

Muthoni’s story is however one among many.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, Nyeri branch, they received about 80 women who were HIV/Aids positive, eight men and four children.

In addition, Kenwa’s Nyeri branch coordinator Francis Muiruri said that over 200 HIV positive people sought assistance from their Nyeri office.

Muthoni’s experience puts a face behind these numbers and like her, we can only hope that tomorrow will bring better tidings.

This story was also published in the Kenya Times, Tuesday October 21st 2008
 

Have you read this?

Community Land Rights Newspaper

Cover of the Community Land rights paper Special newspaper for the Conference on Community Land Law, held 6 - 7th June 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya

icon Download the Community Land Rights newspaper

Highlights from this paper:

    Kenya's community land, which way for the country?
  • Drafting of community land law bill over
  • Deafening silence on right of women to own land
  • Will law provide reprieve to the Mukuru slumlords phenomenon?
  • Investors in Tana River derail community land rights
  • A fairly advanced tenure system in Tanzania
  • Commission set to protect land
  • Land use to embrace sustainable approach
  • Now legal options give women a channel to land rights

Reject Online

Kenyan Woman

Gender & Elections Special Papers

Gender & Elections Special issues

We believe women are at the heart of Kenya's transformation. This election is going to present the highest number of highly capable women vying for elective positions. We've profiled some of the aspirants in our 3 publications, access the highlights via the links below:

Strength of a Woman

Strength of a Woman - Women, Land & Property

Strength of a Woman - Women, Land & Property

With this special issue on land and property rights, the Strength of a Woman, a product of the African Woman and Child Feature Service is again bringing you the untold stories of women, marginalised groups, challenges with the COK2010 and land policy and the need to connect the dots on issues with land using practical experience.

Download

Strength of a Woman - International Women's Day 2012

Strength of a Woman - Women, Land & Property

Strength of a Woman - International Women's Day 2011

Strength of a Woman - Maternal Health & Death


From the Commentary Service

Women who make a difference

Latest Features

Women in Politics

@AWCFS
Like us on Facebook
Google +