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My Personal Story

Two years ago I was dying from AIDS. My story starts here...

In my impoverished Kenyan town, news travels through word of mouth. After I heard about a new interactive community website for women that could possibly help my mission of caring for women with HIV, I decided to make the long trek to the local internet café - often dodging bullets in post-conflict Kenya- to share my story.

Joining PulseWire changed my life forever. I immediately connected with AIDS leaders around the world and, with their help, was able to plan income-generating activities
that expanded my AIDS work and training to 16 other HIV+ women and nurses in my community.

I became a close friend of well-known AIDS activist Anne-christine d’Adesky. She brought a donated laptop to Migori, and with that newly-gifted computer, I became a local correspondent, using PulseWire to report on the voices and needs of my community.

As one of the founding community members, I started a close rapport with the PulseWire team. In May 2007, I was brought on as World Pulse’s first-ever grassroots Correspondent and Africa Outreach Specialist, with a focus on training women impacted by HIV and AIDS in social networking and new media.

That moment was a launching point for me, personally and professionally. In August 2008 I attended the 2008 AIDS Conference in Mexico City, where I presented an abstract, “HIV/AIDS in Post-Conflict Kenya.” I also ran the World Pulse Media Lab in the Women’s Networking Zone with Jennifer Ruwart and her boys. We registered over 75 women and men on PulseWire. Then, in December I had a dream come true. I met World Pulse founder, Jensine Larsen, at the biannual AWID Conference in South Africa, where we taught another 120 women to use PulseWire to tell their stories in their own words and connect with women from around the world.

This year has just started and already I have completed training as an AIDS Peer Counsellor. In April I am flying to Canada to attend another conference on HIV and AIDS. Rumor has it that the World Pulse team is taking the train to meet me!

Two years ago I was dying from AIDS. Today, I am alive and thriving. PulseWire has created hope that I cannot describe. I have so many dreams, and now, I’m going to do them all!

Comments

Nusrat Ara's picture

Bravo!

I was really moved by your account. Keep doing the good work and teach others to live as well.
With lots of love.
Nusrat

Nusrat

Auma's picture

Teaching others to live

is a big goal for me right now.I would love to encourage all people Living with AIDS or any condition that life must continue through whatever circumstances.When death comes,it will be different story,and not necessarily from the same complications,Hope is a remedy that works perfectly.When we have it,we have a purpose to live everyday.

Thank you for the encouragement Nusrat.

Love,

Leah.

aliĝngix's picture

Smile

"Two years ago I was dying from AIDS. Today, I am alive and thriving." I want to quote you on that.
Your story is beautiful, and it puts things into perspective that things like this can happen. It really makes me glad to see this, to know that even if you are in a hassle, that you can still see through to your dreams. So, thanks for showing the way.

Auma's picture

Smiling...

Thank you aliĝngix, i am smiling even through this hassle,and trying to see through to my dreams.I encourage everybody never to concentrate on the negative things that happen to them,unless positively,(eg taking medication).Let us always take the way forward.

I am looking out to hear more of your voice.

All the best,

Leah.

Kagwii's picture

This is a story full of hope

This is a story full of hope and a story of courage. Keep up the good work and may your star continue to shine even brighter.
Love,
Purity

Auma's picture

Asante sana

Purity.Your encouragement gives more strength to live everyday.I would also like to hear more about your work here on PulseWire.Purity,and can we have a link to your great verse?

Love,
Leah.

Auma,

Your courage and perseverance are exemplary, and it's women such as yourself who will shake our world into better days.

Thank you so much for sharing your personal story and for being walking, talking, breathing evidence that HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence; you appear to be living your life to its fullest, most rewarding extent, and you are an inspiration!

With Love (from Canada),

Jackie

P.S. We discussed this briefly before, but I am very much looking forward to welcoming you in Toronto. Please let me know your schedule, which conferences (if any) you will be attending (it's not with the Legal AIDS Network, is it? They are holding a big event in April!), and I hope that we will have an opportunity to meet in person. That would be so exciting!

P.P.S. Make sure you change your title to "VOF Week 2: (My Personal Story)". It would be an absolute shame for your entry to fall under the radar because it is not titled according to the instructions.

You are a very strong woman. I encourage you to continue living positively.

Your personal story made me think of millions of women in Zimbabwe who have limited or no access to care and treatment and cannot share their stories with other women because of limited access to the Internet and computers. Most of these women have lost hope because of stigma and discrimination from their communities particularly the Church. I wish we had more Aumas in the world.

I like the fact that you are not being negative about being positive. Long live Auma!!

Gertrude Pswarayi

The Afrika way's picture

WOW

My goodness you are a remarkable woman!!! You are surely on transit. On transit to greatness, you have inspired me as a young woman. I am glad to have met you, though online and to have read your story. I could feel your determination, and energy. You have achieved alot, and may you continue to inspire and empower those around you. WOW!

Warm Regards,

Amy Boulanger's picture

Amazing!

You are truly inspiring. You will go so far, and as well, you have inspired me to take so much more action. Your story is moving, shows your courage and strength, and provides me with so much hope. Thank you!! : )

olakitike's picture

Totally totally amazing

You are awesome. to have surmounted AIDS and all that goes with it. hope I get to meet you someday

Carole's picture

Shine lady....

Am so humbled when I read the turn you took in your life. You did not lock yourself up but bravely walked into this harsh world to give hope to the shy ones. May God grant you strength each day as you reach out to many other souls who are crying out for help. Keep up with the good spirit Auma.

Carole

ma.chona lasaca's picture

walking miracle

Youre a walking miracle. To be dying and yet so full of life. Your story reminded me that its not the years that counts in life, its how we live each moment. You are living each moment in ways beyond your personal life. Thank you for providing us an example of strength under pressure, of hope amidst despair.

Manuela's picture

So inspiring

Even all the way in Beijing, China, I feel your energy and hope and drive to always move forward, and upward, and beyond. Thank you for that injection of inspiration!

consolata's picture

Source of Hope

Hi sista,
I salute you my sister for the great work you are doing. Your post is such an inspiration, I wish people suffering from whatever illiness can read it. People just give up after the doctor tells them that the test has turned positive. The society also condemn them making it even more difficult for the sick person to survive. Thanks so much for telling the world that HIV/AIDS is Not the end of the world.
Keep up the good work
Regards,
Sister Consolata

JaniceW's picture

Leah, our ray of light

Leah, when I think about your story, my eyes well up with such love for you and your family. I feel so blessed to have met you and to have you as a friend. Your contributions to the world will be more far-reaching than you can imagine and so many lives have been transformed for the better because of your dedication. Keep thriving and living out your dreams. We'll be cheering you on the sidelines, every step of your journey.

Corine Milano's picture

Leah, thank you so much for

Leah, thank you so much for sharing this story with us! It is so lovely to read how World Pulse has made a difference in your life. We are honored to have you on board and I can't wait to give you a hug in Vancouver this month!!!

Corine Milano's picture

Leah, thank you so much for

Leah, thank you so much for sharing this story with us! It is so lovely to read how World Pulse has made a difference in your life. We are honored to have you on board and I can't wait to give you a hug in Vancouver this month!!!

Auma's picture

Thank You for the Big Hug,Cori!

Thank you for turning the Vancouver dream into a reality,Cori.World Pulse continues to make a difference in my life everyday!

Hugs from Kenya,

Leah.

Fatima Waziri's picture

U re a survival Leah! May God

U re a survival Leah! May God continue to give you strength.

Peace!
Fatima

'Once there is life, there is hope' my dear friend Leah that's just what i can say.
From doom and dispair you now blossom.That's life for you and the high spirit of faith and hope.

Keep it up and may God Almighty be your helper to continue to guide and guard you.

Live your 'DREAM' my dear sister.

Cheers

Kagwii's picture

Hi Leah, Let me know what

Hi Leah,
Let me know what verse you are referring to and I will gladly give you the link.
Hugs,
P

Auma,
You are a great woman, You are a living proof that anything is possible, as long as one puts their heart into it. Keep it up.

Best wishes,
Carole

Small Actions >>>> BIG Change!

LauraB's picture

Chills down my spine

Auma,

What a power, what a woman, what an inspiration! What a pleasure to know you.

Love,

Laura

JaniceW's picture

Leah, is this of interest?

http://www.worldpulsemagazine.com/node/10256
Leah, I don't know if this information is useful to you but thought I would send it along, just in case. It talks about a Nottingham University project in the U.K. has turned banana waste into an efficient fuel source. The emphasis of the project was on developing a simple technology that can be used in developing countries without the need for a large financial outlay. The fuel bricks are made by hand without needing any mechanical equipment.

Gathering wood for fuel is a time consuming job, mainly done by women who sometimes have to walk over six hours a day to get firewood. They are hoping that this banana fuel might help reduce dependence on wood as an energy source across Africa. They say that they are happy to give the idea away for free and are encouraging people who want to use the idea to get in touch.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/8044092.stm

Auma's picture

Thank you for this link,Janice!

Hi Janice!

Thank you again for the beaufiful card that you sent to my family.Asante sana!

This link is quite a useful one! It is amazing banana peels can do such wonders! First in my part of the city the peels are such a menace since they are thrown around carelessly! Second,fuel is quite expensive and sufficient firewood is not available any more.

I am trying to look out for a communication link on this website so that i can get in touch immeciately and see what mechanism and cost is involved.

Thank you for sharing this,Janice.

Love as always,

Leah.

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Powerful story!

Hi Leah,
this is apowerful story. it gives life and and hope and courage.
Keep the spirit and the good work!
With Love,
Gifty

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Rose Candy's picture

GOD'S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE

Dear Leah:
We glorify, and thank the Lord God, for directing you to WorldPulse through which you were given a platform to voice out, and be heard. He has used you as an instrument, to make a great difference in the life of a whole lot of others.
You are a real chosen one.
Keep up the good work, and remain blessed.

Rose Candy @ GrandmaRose Foundation

Mothering, Molding and Nurturing children

fonirenezih's picture

You're an Inspiration to Many!

Hello Leah,

I must admit, the courage you got to take the steps you did, to speak out and make good out of a situation many others would've termed gloomy, shows how much you got on the inside.

Your story would surely impact many other women either with the same condition, or who are affected through loved ones, to see that there is always a reason to smile in whatever circumstances- for it is such attitude that makes one rise above the situation and make a turn-around.

Keep up and stay blessed!
Irene

FIZ

Wagatwe's picture

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have family in Kenya and it is great to hear about someone like you working to create change.

SLaw's picture

Thank you

Leah, your story warms my heart. I Your "long trek" to the internet cafe that blessed day has shortened the trek to Wholesomeness for women in your community. Thank you for sharing!

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Oh wow!

This is really moving. Thank you for your words. Dying is overrated and you are the living proof. Thank you.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

bd's picture

the beauty walk

Thank you for paving the way, Auma!

Blessings,
bd

Never doubt in the dark what you saw in the light.

bnyongani's picture

I Like this

Wow! Thats a touching story. I like the sound of this. It gives hope to millions. You are an insiration gal!

aphroditezw

Dear Auma

I just read this story, precisely 2 years after you told it. Meanwhile, everything has been said by a lot of my sisters, spread across the globe. So why am I even here? Well, I am here to tell you that a story like that doesn't lose its relevance or its power to move a heart even after decades. 2 years is but a second!

I am inspired. And inspiration,to me, is strength.So I feel strengthened, as a woman and as a 'lesser than none' human being.

In India we have a saying 'meri umar tumhe lag jaye (may the years I was to live, get added to yours). I am wishing you that here!
Love and hugs

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Yes tella, indeed , it is never too late to say I am inspire. This shows the rich content of PW. 2 years after her personal story, it seem it is just written some hours ago. what an amazing powerful words has.

dear Auma, I feel so encouraged and am proud of you. Thank you for this personal story

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Dear Auma

This is what happens when words on paper are a reflection of one's soul. Your story fits the exact description I gave of one blog post changing the lives of many people and giving hope to those who had lost hope. I am positive that after reading your story, so many women out there who had given up on their dreams, and on life had their hopes and aspirations renewed. Your story is simply beautiful. I am inspired.

Best,
MaDube

Auma's picture

Thanks Stella!

Such are the words that keep my heart clock ticking! Thanks for the great work that you do and I am looking forward to reading more from your writings.

Much love from Kenya! Cheers!

Leah.

ruthibelle's picture

This is very inspiring

I find this truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story and giving hope to so many others. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

Love,
Ruthibelle
ruthibelle.blogspot.com

mirette's picture

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing your story Auma, it's amazing how can one turn a catastrophe in their life into a power that motivates them to reach out to others in the same situation!

skildevfoundation's picture

Despite the odds!

This little piece has made me see the world in a new light! am glad you took that "small" step despite the odds.God bless u

Mrs May Okonkwor (Teach a Woman How to Fish)
Founder/CEO
Skill Development Foundation For Women and Youths (SKILDEV)

Tari Andrea's picture

It's really inspiring!

Dear Auma,

When i read your story, i felt so shamed with myself. You are really strong and brave woman. You've changed your whole life by making an unforgettable decision, joined Pulse Wire! I'd also love to be the member, being a new comer attracts me to more exploring this community. You have engaged your community, it was great! I do fully agree with your action. Community involvement is the best way to find out solutions and needs they're meant to be. Now, i become your fan who is truly inspired by your work.Have a great job there and stay healthy!

Regards,

Tari
Indonesia

--
M&E of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Indonesia

"Be the change that you wish to change." - Mahatma Gandhi.

comfy's picture

An inspiration

Hello Leah,
Thank you for sharing your story. It is an inspiring to every woman out there. Let us all take courage and create beauty from our ashes! Thank you once again Leah!

Regards
Comfort

Hope Alive's picture

Solidarity

Yes! Auma you are an inspiration and living proof that an empowered woman is the fastest way to change the world.

I have had computer and internet access for 11 years... Access has enabled communication and opportunities....including meeting and sharing your story.
The ability to respond in a timely manner to global actions on HIV and human rights adds more purpose to living...adding World Pulse ....great

There was talk about under utilizing new media and I was not willing to become hooked on Facebook...to share my business and thoughts with friends
pulse wire is the innovation that responded to my thoughts...
I am using new media for a purpose that I want to be a part...

We launched a positive women's group last year and I was getting concerned that none of the women have easy access to computer/internet....now I will share your inspiring action ...and remember that we have a lot to give

much love

Stacey Rozen's picture

Inspirational Auma!

Your courage is bountiful and radiated from the monitor as I read your story, Auma. You are inspirational for all have and all who will connect with your soul-filled story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Creatively,
Stacey

loretta's picture

courage!

Courage like that never fails to inspire. When I was doing my Peer Counselling, we were taught that, once a person is diagnosed HIV+(positive) we must encourage them to start living "positive" lives. What I have just read here, embodies exactly that; "living positive" and it has paid off big time. Instead of sitting down and counting your days to the grave, you have put a spin on that and counting people you have helped to rebuild their lives. Keep it up Auma, may God bless you.

Regards
Loretta.

Loretta.

A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

Rahmana Karuna's picture

thank you

with gratitude for you in sharing your story, discipline for persevering, hugs

Monica09's picture

Inspiring

Dear Auma,

Your story is really inspiring. You made use of sparse resources in a post-conflict zone to reach out to others via World Pulse community and to solve problems.

Best wishes!
Monica

Phionah Musumba's picture

If Wishes Were Horses...

Hey Auma,
After reading your story, I just mourned my sister, Lilian, afresh, who died of HIV/AIDS related illnesses in 2007, leaving behind 4 kids who I adopted. I must admit it is not easy losing a family member, but Lilian's death taught me a lot, besides opening my eyes to a new world.
She is the force behind the Centre for Disadvantaged Girls that I founded 12 years ago, to help give hope to women and girls affected or infected with HIV/AIDS.
I would like to meet you someday, seeing as it is that we are almost neighbors.
You are such an inspiration.
The only thing I regret is the fact that my sister never got to meet you; how I wish she did!

I love you very much, Sister!

Phy
Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya
www.galsissues.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/MalkiaCDG

Priyanka Shrestha's picture

An inspiring journey

Your story is really captivating. I salute to your determination and passion for persevering your disease, and rather empowering other HIV infected people.
In my knowledge, I have usually heard and seen that HIV positive people are isolated from the society. If one is a HIV victim then her/his life is a end. Your story is an epitome of hope, which can be a good example for many HIV infected people to still have faith and courage to fight against their disease as well as the overarching societal stigmas.

Thanks for sharing!
Priyanka

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