NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – When I was in form three, my dream was to become a Catholic nun so that I could commit my entire life in the service of God but I got pregnant in December of 2010.
Peter (not the real name) also wanted to become a Catholic priest and I thought he would be the best person to become my friend.
We remained good friends for six months; always talking of our future life as servants of God but in December 2010 something happened which changed my life. We engaged in unprotected sex and after a while, I went for a pregnancy test; I was positive.
After seeing how disappointed my parents were, more so my dad, I decided to get married at the age of 19 years.
Peter was poor but luckily he managed to rent a single room in Dandora Phase 1. Life was hard in that room, there was no water, no electricity and the only window in the room had broken glass.
Even after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy, he died after six months after being affected with pneumonia but it could have been other reasons. His death really pained me but I decided to soldier on.
All this time we were living with my husband, who was ‘hustling’ for our survival.
On July, 2012 something happened that almost drained away my energy to keep moving. I went for a cervix cancer test… I was negative but I tested HIV positive. I had no doubts that I was negative.
This time I was sure that my life had come to an end.
Many questions were running through my mind; could Peter have infected me with the virus, could it have been the cause of my child’s death? I had no one to answer.
When I broke the news to my husband, I expected he would be shocked; but he looked at me with this look…’what did you expect.’
With my son dead and now HIV positive at a tender age, my life was doomed. Not even my parents or relatives ever talked of my status after informing them.
We started quarrelling with my husband until I went back to my parent’s home. I stayed for a few days there and went to stay with my friends since my dad never wanted to see me.
A normal person would have given up but I had something inside me that kept me moving. It must have been from God.
I decided to take control of my life for I knew that God had a purpose for me, which I had to discover.
I joined a beauty pageant in September 2012. I won Miss Bymes (in Dandora) and later on Miss Koch (Korogocho).
This boosted my morale even more after sharing my experience with other ladies.
I have now started a small restaurant after receiving Sh10,000 from the chairman of Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Gor Semelang’o who is coming to check on its progress today (November 1st ).
At first, it was hard starting the business since after using Sh800 to buy food; the profit was only Sh20 on the first day.
Semelang’o however has always encouraged me to push on until I achieve my dream. Nowadays, on a good day I earn Sh1,000 while on a slow day I earn Sh600.
My advice to young ladies in the country is; they should not allow past mistakes to hold them back forever. At times you need to accept what happened and move on.
(As narrated to Joseph Muraya by Lucy Wanjiku)