"My agony of maitaining a job vs HIV/AIDS"
Over the last five years I have been looking for whom to tell my story but all in vain. I was born in a traditional home where one has to struggle to achieve a defined life.
I started working at 21 years after my parents could not afford fees at the school of journalism where I was in final year. My father asked to back to the country side and cultivate. I knew that was a trick set for me to marry because in our tradition girls are not entitled to basic education. We are regarded as assets for dowry. My father therefore had high expectations of big dowry since I was of high class either to marry a businessman, teacher or politician.
However, I refused and searched for a job at a Hotel in Kampala City. I was too humbled and the Indians trusted me with their cash. The first month went on well but trouble started in the next month when my boss fell head over hills for me. I could not imagine an Indian to love a black woman. I rejected his manifesto. Most of the girls gave in to secure their jobs. When the pressure continued I abandoned the job after working for three months.
From my savings, I went back to school and completed.
After, I enrolled at a local news paper as a freelance reporter but men used to intimidate me. Whenever I needed guidance, they demanded touching me first. I got irritated and left after working for seven months.
I then went for Television broadcast. Man, this was hell. It all started when the then chief news Editor sent me for a story. Little did I know that I had some attraction in his eyes. Upon submitting in my article, he asked me to wait until 10.00 pm in his office. Lucky enough, the Director Videographer seemed to get into his plan and warned me to go away.
So the next day, he questioned as to why I could not oblige and the next word was to sack me. I left when I had finished only 26 days. No money was paid to me. I had no job description and therefore no one could come to my aid.
I started off again regretting as to why I did journalism and more so why I was a woman. My siblings dropped out of school due to lack of school fees since I was the major aid. The family was in total mess.
I landed yet another job where the owner was an old man of about 60 years. I looked at him as harmless.
So I narrated my experience and he was sympathetic. He cared for me in terms of salary and home basic needs. I managed to get my four brothers back to school and I was indeed happy.
As time went on, this man started getting closer. He told me stories of his marital life. He said Life was meaningless to him. He drank alcohol to the bliss. So being a Christian, I tamed him slowly. I offered time to visit his home in order to relieve boredom and put him off alcohol. In three months of working, his wife died. I did not know the disease but rumors had it that it was HIV/AIDS. Soon as the old man came from the funeral, he got a stroke in both hands. Everyone ran out of him including his three children who claimed he caused their mother’s death due to his careless life.
Remember, that was 2005 when the stigma for HIV/AIDS was at the pick in our country. So I also wanted to abandon him but when I approached my family they allowed me to help him.
This was also because I was the bread winner for the entire family.
This man’s condition worsened. The stroke also moved to both legs. He could not walk. I had to support with feeding, bathing, brushing the teeth, washing, cooking, accessing toilet, lifting him on and off the bed. I had to massage him twice a day and on top of that I had to run the enterprise. He used to suffer whenever I was in the field and I would find everything in mess. Hope you will understand what I mean.
I surrendered my life for one full year. I was more stigmazed. No one wanted to associate with me. Even the church abandoned us saying probably we were under sin. Even the tax operators sometimes refused to carry us in their vehicles because of the looks.
I could carry him on my back like a baby. Here, I commend Nsambya Hospital that worked closely with me to see this man live. I used to line up for the ARVs. No one was there to council me and I was too exposed to the risk of the AIDS. I have lived in a cocoon not until web 2.0 came my way. I feel I am healed. Thank you web 2.0.