A Naga woman of HIV AIDS living on the deadbed, yet an inspiration for many women to carry on!!
I got a message on my phone saying “I have been lying on the dead bed for 15 days now, I prayed to God, if it is time for me to go, please take me away and end all my body ache, sufferings and troubles to others who is taking care of me, if it is not time for me yet, let me live and continue serving other women of HIV AIDS". I didn’t know what to do at that instant but I knew I had to be strong and send her a message of encouragement and hope.
I met this Naga woman in a seminar in 2008, where she is working as a missionary reaching out to many women and children of HIV AIDS victim. When she shared her story of struggles and triumphs, everyone in the room sobbed, there was none without tears. From then on, we have been in touch with each other. Her story began like this..
She is a beautiful lady and has a smile that lights up the soul of others. She got married very young and gave birth of two sons. Suddenly, her husband started falling ill, when they went for health check up, he was diagnosed with AIDS. When she and her kids also went for check up. Unfortunately, all of them got diagnosed with AIDS. She felt numb at that instant because the name sounded so alien to her and never thought such would happen to her family. During those times, people were not much aware of AIDS. After a while of diagnosing with AIDS, her husband passed away. She felt shattered and didn’t know how to carry on with her life and the kids. One rainy day, she took a decision to commit suicide leaving her kids behind. She walked towards the river nearby her rented house to jump into the river and end her life. When she was about to jump into the river, she heard the sound of her young son crying from a far distance following towards her, ‘mommy mommy’. The cry of her son awakened her mind and she thought ‘how could I leave my young children alone and go away’. At that instant she prayed to God, ‘Lord let me live, give me the strength and courage to carry on’. Instead of jumping into the river, she went home with her baby.
Even if she decided to live, she was faced with various kinds of discrimination and struggles. After her husband passed away, the neighbours came to know that the family has AIDS and the neighbours outcaste them. The community was not much aware of the AIDS and they were so scared that they would get infected if they go near the family. Therefore, they were very scared to even come near her or kids. Her children were not allowed to play with other kids of the neighbourhood; even the schools did not accept her children to attend schools thinking it will get infected with other kids. Then, at last, the missionary schools accepted her children for schooling. She has to earn a living, as she became the sole breadwinner. She planted vegetables and fruits to sell and fetch money to survive. But the neighbours refused buying from her thinking they’ll get infected. She struggled through thick and thin and faced with all kinds of humiliation and discrimination.
The missionaries got to know her story and started supporting her with meager amount to support her family and reach out to other women living with HIV AIDS. Since then, she has been reaching out to more than hundreds of women. She nursed many women on the dying bed and look after the orphaned children of HIV AIDS left by the parents. She is an inspiration, despite of all odds and struggles faced in life, she determines to live and reach out to many more women. She can’t afford to provide healthy meal for the family daily, but a must to be able to control strong medication that they consume daily to survive and live.
When the doctor looked into the history of family. Her husband had abused drugs before marriage and got infected with AIDS through needle sharing with others. This is the reality today in the conflict-affected region of Nagas homeland of northeast India. Many youths are abusing substance and somehow lost, their dreams and goals in life are shattered. We have lost many youths due to drug overdose and parents live with grief of loosing their children. But the central government keeps their eyes shut because there will be no more youths left to take part in nationalist movement that will stand against the injustice of the government towards the people. There is an easy flow of drugs towards the region when it is strictly banned in other parts of the country. I have come across many youths that are struggling to make it to their dreams and visions of a better life, but the situation of the conflict itself shatters them all. There is no opportunity or scope to move ahead. Let’s hope and wish they’d get to see the bright side of life again someday.