Extremes of life in old age
‘I know I will die soon but I had to join this group because of my grandchild. Maybe I might find help!
As I sat in a group of old widows ages ranging from 50 to about 80, I realized how vulnerable old widows are, they do not only have to deal with the loss of their spouses but also how to take care of their grandchildren.
We are looking after our children’s children, our son’s and daughters passed on due to HIV” says agogo one of the women attending a gathering in chansaga compound north of the capital
Life for old widows is becoming more and more difficulty as the day passes, with a life span estimated at 39 years for both men and women here. More and more old people have become the bread winners for their grandchildren. This is not because they want to but because most of their own children have died due to HIV and AIDS.
“I am too old to work, I really don’t know how to take care of my grandchildren, and I need help ‘said another old woman with few teeth in her mouth….
The purpose of joining the group, most of them gave was to seek help; the group which is coordinated by old women under shoulin home based care was established to assist old women. But due to lack of funding the group is slowly collapsing as the hope of many old women have been lost. As I stared at these old women, I wondered what our leaders are doing in supporting the old women in society especially widows who are literate and have no capital to start a business. Though some NGOs are doing their best, not every sector of society or every one is catered for. I envied countries which had implemented policy for old people; at least in such countries old people are given an allowance every month as given shelter. I kept on imaging what sort of life these women, who with the hope of finding a livelihood live their impoverished homes, yet go back empty handed.
Our legs ache, our waist is worse; yes our whole body pains and most of us can not walk a long distance or do hard work. We are really suffering; no one seems to care for us.