My Journey Towards Hope: Karen Omondi

In June 2010, I was confirmed to be HIV positive. At the time I was expecting my last child so I made the decision to attend prevention- mother to child transmission sessions (PMTCT). The child I was expecting was born HIV negative. My husband decided to remarry because I was now HIV positive. Because I had children, and despite the traumatizing social stigma I faced, I did not despair. I wanted to make a better life for myself and for them. My husband focused on his new family and forgot about us. The house we were living in was dilapidated and my children suffered through infections brought on by the elements. I worked hard in people’s farms and did small scale businesses because I wanted to construct a house to live in. I saved all the proceeds and bought iron sheets. I now needed some little money to pay for labour and we would have a new house.

My husband saw the iron sheets and one day when I had gone to work, he stole and sold them. He used the money to entertain my co-wife. That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  A close friend who realized that I was very distraught and new of my intentions to commit suicide sought the help of one the Community Health Workers at North Gem HIV Project. They visited my home and took me to the project office where I was introduced to the Project’s. I was later registered as a project beneficiary and started attending support group meetings, where I met other people who were HIV positive and whose stories of hope encouraged me.

In 2013, the project bought me new iron sheets and assisted me construct the house I always dreamt of. In addition, I was also assisted with training and a micro-finance loan to start an income generating activity. They taught me the importance of some basic personal finance measures, like opening a bank account. Today I own a small hotel at Lana market. I work extra hard to be able to repay the loan so that someone else can also benefit from this project. My children are in school and I no longer worry over our basic needs. Kudos to North Gem Community Development Program; you have truly saved my life!

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