This story is from Sister Gloria Adoga who ministers in Notre Dame Children’s Outreach in Kenya.
Brian is seventeen years of age and a Form Two student of Oriwo Boys high school. He is the only surviving child of six children. His father died when he was barely five. The family had to move to Rongo after the death of their father because they were ejected from their home by the in-laws. Life was tolerable for them then, since the mother was strong and could fend for her children, pay rent and take care of the different family needs they had.
The mother later took ill which brought a twist in their life. She was sick on and off for about two years and grew weaker by the day and the family situation continued from bad to worse. She went to her in-laws for help but was rejected. In the end she went back to her original home where she had been born. Her mother (i.e. Brian’s maternal grandmother) being the only surviving member of the family took her and cared for her. Brian’s mother died later in 2006. The grand-mother bought a piece of land in the cemetary where she buried her daughter. It is bizarre for a person according to the traditions of the people to be buried outside her home. Brian’s other siblings were already dead at that time leaving him orphaned at that tender age of ten.
After about a year, Brian also took ill and was diagnosed positive with HIV. He and the grandmother struggled to come to terms of the fact that he carries with him the ‘deadly disease’. Thanks to counseling, he was introduced to ARV drugs early enough and he is managing alright. The grandmother was responsible for all his needs until she was in an accident that almost left her paralyzed. She still does her best but is not able to do so much because of her weaken hand muscle from the accident.
They manage with whatever they could get and have to live without meals at times. Brian hoped for better things ahead of him and continued with school in spite of his challenges. And as the saying goes “nobody knows how God finds a life for us”. Sister Rose Ngacha of Notre Dame Children’s Outreach met him during one of her visit to Ariwa School and took him in her program. His heart sang for joy as he enters this new dawn of another bright beginning.
He is an intelligent student, well behaved with lots of hope and courage. His performance on testing was excellent and he gained admission to a provincial school the same year. He was so determined to go to school that he had to sell his only cow to get some of the recommended things for entrance to school. Thanks also to our partners in Mission ‘Joining Hearts and Hands’ we were able to get him school fees. However, his health failed him as he had another battle with it. His CD4 count dropped as low as 90 which gave way to opportunistic infections like malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea and skin infections. He grew too weak to stay in school. And so, he was able to spend only few weeks in school. In fact, he missed the first term exams and got a grade C at the end of the academic year. He is right now in form two and hopes to help people who are especially of the same status as him in the future.
Brian is very open to share his life with people not withstanding the ‘tag’ that will put on him. When we first took him to high school, we wanted to share with the school he status since he will need time away to go for his drugs but he insisted on doing it himself. This he did and he had had time to talk with other children whenever he is called to do so. He is actively involved in school and at home and continues to live in joy and hope.
One thing is sure, he is not someone who can be easily cowed by circumstances as he stood tall despite all the challenges he went through. He is forever thankful for all that he continues to receive and share.
Find out more about Notre Dame Children’s Outreach at http://www.facebook.com/notredamechildrensoutreach.com