Jane Ouma's Story

I am a widow and I have one child, aged five. I got married in 2001. There was trouble in my marriage right from the start. He was a heavy drinker and he often beat me. Then one day he went away to Nairobi. When he did not send us any money for over a year, I went looking for him. He had not changed. For the three weeks I was in Nairobi, he often came home drunk and beat me. I left eventually when I learnt that he had been living with a woman whose husband was believed to have died of AIDS.

 

Jane Ouma

 

Five months later I fell very ill. Madam Florence Gundo and Carolyne Okeyo of Orongo Women’s Group came to my house and took me to Nyanza Hospital. I was tested for HIV, and the result was positive. I felt so helpless. But Carol encouraged me. She told me that HIV was not a death sentence, and that I could go on with my life if I took care of myself.

Carol stayed with me for two weeks in the hospital. She brought me food, took me to the bathroom and even washed my clothes. She made sure I took my medicine. Then when I was discharged, Florence cleared all the hospital bills. I understand this money came from Amref Health Africa.

I fell ill again in July. Florence wrote me a referral letter to the hospital, and again Carol stayed with me. She comes around every other day to check on my son and I.

My husband died in 2007. My in-laws kicked me out of our home but allowed me back after Florence in-tervened. I have now joined the Orongo Group. I sell fish and vegetables. I also make mats for sale. I have regained my strength and I can now carry a big container of water. I am very grateful to Carol, Florence and Amref Health Africa.