Tuesday, June 8, 2010

“Home Based Care Workers”

Since I didn’t visit these people the day we were in the slums, I copied this account out of Val’s journal. I was going to reword it, but decided that Val can tell her own story.

Within the Mathare Slums is a group of people known as Home Based Care. It consists of a team of 15 people who visit their total 100 clients three times a week. These clients all have AIDS and the members of Home Based Care supply them with their ARV medications as well as assist with buying them food and paying their rent. All of the Home Based Care workers live in the slums.

First we picked up rice, flour and sugar from a market in the slum, to give to the people that we visited. The store was tiny and packed with so many different supplies.

The first client we visited was named Gyus. He had been diagnosed with AIDS one and a half years ago and is 26-years old now. He lives with his 20-year old brother named Charles and their father. Charles and Gyus both have tuberculosis in addition to AIDS. The brothers are both on medication, but their father is not because he is denial. They lost their mother two years ago.

The next two clients we stopped to visit had been taken to the hospital.

Next we visited Eunice, a bedridden mother of two who found out a year ago that she had AIDS. Her sons are one year old and six years old. She has not had them tested. Unlike many women in the slums, she does have a husband but he doesn’t have a job. Her dream is to have her own business. The week before, she could barely even wakeup, because she gives what little food she has to her children. The day we visited, she hadn’t eaten in two days.

I didn’t get the names of the next people we saw. The mother had reported her daughter to the Home Based Care team. The daughter had found out she was HIV positive when she was pregnant. In Kenya you must be tested when you are pregnant. Her husband left her after he found out. The woman was holding a candle because it was so dark in her home. She only completed the sixth grade and did not speak English.

We also visited a woman who had been an orphan. Then when her sister died, she took in her two children. She gets up very early every morning to voluntarily clean her church. She and the other woman in her apartment that day were going to be kicked out of their homes that day because they hadn’t paid their rent. Many of the others we saw that day also hadn’t paid their rent. Before we left the slums, Jen and Dave told us that they would be paying the rent for these people.

In one of the homes we visited was a sign saying, "God gives hope and loves us." Amazing in those kinds of conditions, that people can still have so much faith.

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