Last month as I collected my medication from one of the health centres in Harare, I met a young woman who wept uncontrollably.
I was in a rush for my appointment with the nursing sister, so I came back 30 minutes later and the lovely girl was now gasping. There were two young men with her, I guess aged around 22 to 24 who sat not saying a word to her. I introduced myself.
“My daughter I saw you crying 20 minutes ago as I rushed for my appointment, am back and you are still crying, you are not alone. My name is Mai Murombedzi and am here to help you. May I hug you.” She just nodded. I allowed her to cry on my shoulder for some time and asked her; Do you now feel better, she again nodded.
I told the young woman that this was a clinic for positive living and she nodded that she knew that very well. I asked her to look around to the majority of people collecting medication, jovial, going in and out, the old, the young and youths were in the same boat with her. She later gained composure and was able to speak.
“I miss my dad, he was my all and all. He died two years ago. I now have my brothers. They are both younger than me. My dad accompanied me to collect my medication. He too was on medication. My mum died more than a decade ago. I am 26 years old. Thank God my brothers are OK and are not on medication. Next Friday college opens and they both go back, . . . she failed to finish and heaved in sobs.”
I told the brothers that I could refer them to a girl who is a peer educator. I showed them the picture in my phone and the sister said she knew that girl.
“I can refer you to Loyce Maturu, she is a peer educator with Zvandiri Positive. Here is her number, you tell her I gave you the contact she can help you,” I told the young woman who now sat up on the garden table listening. She replied that she had seen Loyce on television on Positive Talk. She had attended one of the discussions in Avondale Harare at Africaid Zvandiri after learning of the place on Positive Talk and had seen many young people both males and females at the place.
I gave the young woman my contact and told her she could call when she feels like. She has called twice, once at night when she needed someone to talk to.
She has been in touch with Loyce and she has said she is now able to walk alone with confidence. The young woman said she did not want guys approaching her and she felt cross when they did.
“I do not have to explain myself, explain that I was born like this, so I do not like any man showing interest in me,” she said.
Growing up and getting to a time when one needs a partner seems a challenge for children born HIV positive. There comes a time they need to have a lover, but like my girl here, she does not want any association. Loyce Maturu a peer educator with Africaid Zvandiri Positive, is beyond diagnosis. She helps young people accept their condition and take a step each day. She says, acceptance is a process, not a journey.
“Acceptance is a process, it is not a one day issue, it is not an event. It is accepting who you are, what it means and how you will live with the status. It is a new way of living, adjusting to it means much more as one is able to deal with important issues that arise everyday,” said Maturu.