“I’m fine and I am making plans for the future. I know now to get ill is not to die”
Palmira Enoque Tembe, 54, is HIV positive She lives with two sons, who are also HIV positive, and four grandchildren in a small house in Bairro Feiroviaro on the outskirts of Maputo. Three times a week she is visited by Amodefa volunteers and once a week by a nurse who provide medication, food and therapy to the family.
“Amodefa counsels me through the difficulties in life,” Palmira says. Palmira found out she had HIV when her youngest child was nine months old. He was diagnosed as HIV positive. Palmira asked her husband to get tested too,“He refused” says Palmira.
“He said I was possessed by evil spirits and was trying to kill him and my son". Her husband abandoned the family and Palmira was left to battle the illness and raise the children on her own. “I was terrified. I lost hope. I didn’t want to do anything, just sit in my room and cry,” she says. Now, however, the nutritious food, medication and regular medical check-ups she receives as part of the homecare programme have given her a new lease on life.
“I’m fine and I am making plans for the future. I know now to get ill is not to die,” says Palmira, who has started to subsistence farm again. At first she was wary of the service. “It seemed like an advertisement for having HIV and I didn’t want my neighbours to isolate me,” she says. “But now I depend on it.” It was through Amodefa’s new pilot counselling project, ‘Ntyiso’ - which translates as ‘The Truth’ in the local language, Shangaan - Palmira was finally able to open up to her son that he had HIV too.
While he had always suspected he was carrying the virus, he needed to hear it from his mother for it to become real.“It has changed by life,” she says. “It has improved our relationship because I no longer feel ashamed.”
The Ntiyso is a pilot project implemented in Maputo City and it has its focus on disclosure of the HIV + status to adolescents. It targets mothers, parents and caregivers of adolescents. The main activities are: Education and training of Mothers, Parents and caregivers of adolescents to reveal HIV+ status to their adolescents. Due to the Global Gag Rule this project lost its funding and was forced to close.