KENYA: Emily Ajwang': "When you have children, you will do anything to feed them"

Photo: Kenneth Odour/IRIN
"I had to look for ways to survive with my children"
Migori, 3 October 2008 (PlusNews) - Thirty-three year-old Emily Ajwang', a resident of Nyatike village in western Kenya's Migori district, lost her husband to an HIV-related illness two years ago. She now works in the district's gold mines to support her five children. Diagnosed with HIV after the death of her husband, she told IRIN/PlusNews about her daily struggle to make ends meet.

“My husband died in the year 2006, after suffering from tuberculosis; he used to be a small time gold miner. When he died, he left me behind with our four children and a pregnancy, I had to look for ways to survive with my children. This place is dry most of the year and the only thing I could do to survive was to wash gold dust for the miners, who can give me something small to push me along. At times I also go into the mines to look for gold.

“I am on ARVs that I get from the Nyatike sub-district hospital but we are told these drugs work better when you eat. At times one of the nurses here sympathises with me and she gives me flour whenever I go for the drugs.

“My children do not go to school because they help me in my small work at the mines. My first two daughters also do what I do for the miners and we are able to collect together what we have. At times you can take even up to two weeks without getting anything from the mines.

"These miners we work for will not give you work unless you allow them to come to your house at night [for sex]. In this area people still believe there is nothing like AIDS. They just think AIDS is TB. People have died here, especially miners, but they believe it is TB or some of them say they are bewitched.

"Life is difficult but when you have children, you will do anything to feed them especially the young ones. You know when you know you are sick and the child is also sick, you just want to commit suicide. If it were not for my children, I would commit suicide."


Theme(s): HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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