Kimberly Vrudny

Archive for the ‘Yabonga’ Category

Participant 16

In 30/30 Participants, South Africa, Yabonga on August 12, 2010 at 4:30 am

“Participant 16” writes about the painful realities of working with children living with HIV/AIDS. She has served Yabonga as a peer educator and counselor.

I started knowing [my HIV+ status] in 2002 while I was sick. I had TB and it was for the second time and my doctor decided/advised that I should do an HIV test. It was something new for me and I did it. Unfortunately I tested +. I just thought it was the end of life for me but [the] one thing [that] kept me going was my child. I prayed to God that he must not take me because my son is still young. Apart from that was to join Yabonga support group in 2002 at M/Goniwe Clinic in Khayelitsha. The lady who was a team leader there gave me all the support that I needed and I felt very strong after that. In 2005 I was so lucky to be trained as a peer educator at Yabonga. Then [in] 2006 I started working and fortunately for me I was a youth counselor. I had to deal with children who are infected with HIV/AIDS and affected. Some of them are orphans through HIV/AIDS. Finally it started as something good for me because I was working, but later I discovered that, this is worse to deal with children’s challenges. I worked in different places where Yabonga is having containers at the clinics. [Shipping containers are used as freestanding buildings in many township communities.] I remember while I was in Kraai-Fontein [in] 2007, there were two children. [O]ne of them is HIV+ and their mom didn’t have any means to provide for them but because in our OVC programme we give these children all the support [they required] including [a school] uniform and some food, and they come to our centers after school for food as we have community moms to cook for them. These community mothers are our clients who volunteer themselves to cook for the children after school. The food and everything is from Yabonga and they just open their homes for our children. But with a [stipend]. So for some children it is a great priviledge for them to be part of Yabonga at least to have them all to get the support they need. Some of these children become infected, so we have to deal with these problems but we refer them to [relevant] places for counselling. There is a boy in Gugulethu who touched me. He is HIV+ and is always sick. He is [in and out of the] hospital. I was so worried when the doctors said they are going to stop him from taking ARVs because he doesn’t improve, but through our prayers, I again heard that there is doctor who said he wants to monitor him and he is not stopping medication. I think [his] story is touching everybody because he is really a fighter. That is not something nice. People might think we are happy because we have accepted our statuses and our families do, but what about the fact that [we are] going to be on medication for the rest of [our lives]? [the s]truggle continues

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Participant 17

In 30/30 Participants, South Africa, Yabonga on August 12, 2010 at 4:15 am

“Participant 17” writes about how the Institute for the Healing of Memories conducts retreats to help caregivers cope with the trauma of HIV/AIDS.

I live in a community [where] people are confronted by the reality of HIV&AIDS on a daily basis. People choose to respond to the pandemic in many different ways. [The Institute for the] Healing of Memories and HIV/AIDS is about creating a safe space for those infected and affected by [this disease]. Many people infected and affected by HIV&AIDS continue to experience rejection and isolation. This [leaves] people with a lot of feelings, [like] pain and disappointment. [The Institute for the] Healing of Memories create[s] an opportunity for people to deal with the negative feeling[s] they have because of how we respond to those living with the [disease]. People are struggling with feeling[s] of anger because of a partner who infected them with the [disease], because of being isolated by family and friends. [Facilitators at the Institute for the] Healing of Memories listen to the pain of those who have been affected and infected to help people journey with strength and believe that they are not alone.

Participant 18

In 30/30 Participants, South Africa, Yabonga on August 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

“Participant 18” is a peer educator for Yabonga, and credits the organization for teaching him to live positively. He has turned his life around, and is studying for a bachelor’s degree.

I [was] born in 1968 [on] the 19th September in the North West Province of South Africa. I went to school in 1975 at Makgori Primary in Makgori Village. We then relocated to Tshidilamolomo in 1977. I continued with my education until 1985 when I pass[ed] my STD8 [standard eight, or eighth grade]. I couldn’t continue with my studies due to [a] lack of finance[s]. I stayed at home doing odd jobs to earn some income. [In] 1991 I went back to continue with my studies and I completed my matric. In 1994 I was employed as a temporary teacher. When my contract was terminated in 1997 I went back to do my odd jobs to earn some income. In 1999 I tested HIV-positive but didn’t believe in HIV/AIDS. I then moved to Cape Town where my brother is staying. I continued working in building construction as I liked working with sand and stones. In 2004 I went to do VCT [voluntary testing and counseling] again, hoping to be negative but FORTUNATELY I tested HIV-positive. I couldn’t do anything about it but to accept the results. I met the Yabonga HIV/AIDS Peer Educators who encouraged me to accept and forget about where I [got] the virus [from] but to continue living my life but differently. That’s changing my lifestyle. Living positively with positive mind. I joined the support group and that is where my future with Yabonga started. I went for an interview in 2006 at Yabonga and I went through. [In] 2007 I was trained to be an HIV/AIDS Peer Educator. I could speak openly [about] my status to everybody including my family and friends. A person living with HIV is a normal person. It was also my step forward. I am presently a student at the University of South Africa and am going to be graduating in years to come. Every person can fulfil his dreams living with the HI Virus. I am now taking my ARV medication and keeping well everyday. Thank you Yabonga for having me as [your] employee.