Kimberly Vrudny

Archive for the ‘J. L. Zwane Centre’ Category

Participant 04

In 30/30 Participants, J. L. Zwane Centre, South Africa on August 12, 2010 at 7:30 am

“Participant 04” is a widow living in Guguletu who has opened her home to twelve orphaned and abandoned children. She wishes she could do more.

I live in one of the low socio-economic group areas where the large part of it is still informal settlements; where people live in shacks. This creates overcrowding and hygiene is not that much observed. In this area HIV and AIDS are rife. The government and some of the non-governmental structures are trying to educate people about prevention of HIV and AIDS treatment available for it—but it is still a problem because people are unwilling to disclose their status due to the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. Some people would rather go to sangomas (witchdoctors) for treatment and end up dying. Parents die leaving behind orphans some of [whom] are also infected. Some of these children are abandoned with none to take care of them, or would be left with an elderly lady who also needs to be taken care of. This is very pathetic. This is what touched my heart and I opened my home to such children. I am presently staying with children whom I take care of, to see to their needs and love them. I would do more if I had means and make a difference to my community.

Participant 05

In 30/30 Participants, J. L. Zwane Centre, South Africa on August 12, 2010 at 7:15 am

“Participant 05” is a seven-year-old boy who struggles with meningitis, among other opportunistic infections. His mother writes about their challenges in her journal entry.

In 1992, after being involved in a car accident, I was diagnosed HIV-positive. I knew very little about HIV and I had no sign of being ill or of the struggle that la[id] ahead for me and my family. I was healthy and fit until 2001, after I had fallen pregnant with my youngest son. I had two children already, so I thought it was no big deal. After a difficult pregnancy, I gave birth to a baby boy, [who] was immediately diagnosed as HIV-positive. His CD4 count was zero, like myself, and the doctors predicted a very short life span for him, for he had TB at birth. Today I thank God, for he has celebrated his seventh birthday in July this year. In spite of being a very sick boy, he also goes to school when he can, and when you look at him some days, he looks and plays with other children like any seven year old. I try to make his life as normal as I can for in a house with lots of grandchildren and friends, he is the only one who is very sickly and sometimes does not go to school for long periods at a time, and misses a lot of school work, but he at least gets some kind of education. He has been put on the second line of ARVs, because of his very high viral load and very low CD4 count. At the moment, he is suffering from slow meningitis, and I am suffering from cancer and four other opportunistic diseases. Through all our past & future struggles, I thank God for the strong support system I have at my church & support group that I joined about four years ago. They are with me every step of the way & it makes my life a whole lot better than it could have been. I am also an HIV & AIDS activist, for I know that HIV [and AIDS] are maintainable, if you take your [medicine], and abstain from sex or protect yourself, and surround yourself with family and friends as a strong support system. Aluta continua!, the struggle continues. . . .

Participant 06

In 30/30 Participants, J. L. Zwane Centre, South Africa on August 12, 2010 at 7:00 am

“Participant 06” discusses helplessness in the face of the pandemic. She has opened her home to her “daughter” and “grandson,” both living with HIV.

I do not know much about HIV, but I do know that it is a struggle that I won’t wish on anybody, as a mother staying with my positive daughter and grandson. [T]o see them struggling with this terrible disease makes me feel very helpless and heartbroken. When she first told me her status I was very worried, for I thought they would die soon, but after watching their struggle for many years, I do not know which is better, death or the struggle. I am thankful that they are still alive, but not being able to know how to help makes me feel like an outsider, watching my children die day after day.

My helplessness makes me very thankful to God for the J. L. Zwane Support Group and Centre, for, if it was not for their daily help I do not know where we as a family would be. They are helping my daughter with everything and by helping her, they help my whole family. My own congregation is helpless in this epidemic, they can only pray when they happen to get into contact with us. My health is also going down faster, because of my anguish when my children are sick. I also have the support of the J. L. Zwane members [who] are my neighbours. May God bless them richly for their help to us. May he also give them strength, patience, and wisdom to keep up the good work in our community.