Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Home Visits

Today we accompanied Mama Elizabeth and Mr. Manyama on two home visits. The first was with a grandmother raising four of her grandchildren. When we arrived, the Mama and her grandchildren, spread reed mats under a tree in the yard and we all sat comfortably. The Mama told us her story; she used to be a teacher (for 30 years) and five of her children died of AIDs. They were all educated and professionals. She spent all of her retirement money caring for them and now she’s looking after their children, Spelasia , Eric, Witness, and Sharon. She showed us the small garden where she grew food for the family and brought out some of the reed mats she and the children wove. A large mat (~8X8) would take up to a month to weave by hand and would sell for $35,000Tsh ($35USD) and smaller ones were$20,000-25,000Tsh (~$20-25 USD). With the money she made selling mats she paid the children’s school tuition. Although the mats were bulky and would be a challenge to pack, two of the girls bought one each. It was a great sales day for the Mama and before we left we gave the family a gift of Maple Syrup from Canada.
The second home visit was with a grandmother who lost four of nine children to AIDs. She caught HIV herself while caring for her daughter, and now she is raising her grandchild, Angela, a gorgeous eight-year old who also has HIV. Her remaining children will have nothing to do with them because they are afraid they their families may catch the virus.
During these visits the Kimara team brings small bags of corn and wheat, they check that the families are accessing the ARV (antiretroviral) programs available to them and continuing to take the medications. That these medications need to be taken with food is an issue for people who don’t have food.

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