Zimbabwe appeal: Love and hope in a time of tragedy - Story
We have been loved by God
Monica remembers that her husband had taken the HIV test, and after discovering he was positive he approached his wife, told her about his status and encouraged her to take the test. Monica was terrified. It took her one year to take the courage to go for testing. When she did she discovered that she was also positive.
She explained that she and that her husband are on anti-AIDS medication. They are taken to Marondera Hospital - some 60km away from their home - on a monthly basis for their checkups and medication with the support of Caritas.
“I was once ill and my weight was 42kg. I had swollen lymph nodes. I am now 63kg and beautiful again, you see,” said Monica.
When Monica got pregnant in 2005, the couple sought advice from a Caritas partner - Seke Rural Home Base Care (SRHBC). The couple received basic training and support in Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT).
From the seventh month of pregnancy onwards Monica rigorously carried with her the Neverapin drug as from then on she could at any time go into labour and deliver. Monica gave birth and still found the strength to make sure that the health staff at the clinic where she delivered were ready to administer the Neverapin, as she had been taught by staff from Seke Rural Home Base Care.
Monica’s baby was called Tadiwanashe, which in Shona means “We have been loved by God”. Indeed the couple was blessed with a healthy baby. When Tawadiwa was tested at the age of 1.5, she was negative. Monica smiles with pride, joy and gratefulness thinking of her child’s health.
Before they joined the Caritas-supported Livelihood Programme Zimbabwe (LPZ) they had absolutely nothing beyond the basic homestead.
Asked how she managed to cope with the food demands of a large family with special nutrition requirements, the couple quickly took the visiting team back in time.
“Whilst all this was happening, we were getting support from SRHBC - digging planting stations, applying ant hill soil, keeping a grass and stalk mulch, applying fertilizer - all those things that they say about micro dosing, using coca cola bottle tops as measurements in fertiliser application”.
Now dozens of chickens run around their compound. When asked how many times they eat eggs in a week, Monica replies: “That is not a real question because we eat them daily. We eat eggs every day! We could not possibly eat just vegetables and sadza!”
Monica knows the value of a diversified diet and as much as possible she provides it for whole family with great spices from the family nutrition garden. So amazing also that she names and knows all the herbs in her garden and the various uses and recipes.
Monica and Morrison proudly take us around the compound and point at the extension of their nutrition garden into the main plot of land, already tilled and fenced.
Monica and Morrison have prepared the soil for planting using conservation farming methods. Monica warns: “This is not the end of the story, it is just the beginning!”
A new hole in the ground shows that the family has also been involved in digging another well (estimated to be 6m deep). Morrison took lead in this work and worked hard. The family is so united and optimistic that they want to keep improving.
The situation in the country does not depict a good picture for the future . A household like this, who has strived to achieve self-reliance through a lot of sacrifice and hard work, may not be able to sustain its independence from aid, due to the collapsed economy in country.
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