Ezekiel Ogwel Ndiya is from Wahonya village in Ndere sub location, North Gem location. He is 42 years old, married and a father of four (one girl and three boys). He starts his story by saying, “My parents were subsistence farmers and could not afford to pay my school fees so I dropped out of high school in form two. While still trying to seek my identity as an adolescent they both passed on.” Life became unbearable since Ezekiel had to fend for himself. The fact that he was only teenager made it worse since he had no one to confide in. He adds, “In 2004,I started getting sick most of the time and was diagnosed with HIV. I felt that my life was shattered and braved myself for the worst. Accessing medication was a challenge because the ART drug dispensing system was not good.” To access ART he had to travel all the way to Kisumu (55km away) to get care and treatment. As regards his status he says, “Stigma and discrimination were rampant so I had to hide while taking medication. I was also scared of confiding in my wife since my greatest fear was that she would desert or blame me for the disease”. However, a year later his wife started becoming sick and he advised her to go for testing. Without disclosing his status Ezekiel accompanied the wife to the VCT centre. Ezekiel was confirmed HIV+ but his wife tested HIV-. Later on Ezekiel joined a local youth polytechnic to study building and construction but due to financial constraints dropped out when he had almost completed the course.
In 2012 Ezekiel became a Peer Educator attached to the peer groups which work with North Gem HIV project. After learning of the services given to PLWHAs by the project he decided to register in a support group attached to the project. He says, “With my wife we have been trained on various areas such as food production, entrepreneurship, animal husbandry, prevention with positives (PWP), and aquaculture among others. As a result I am able produce food for my family, keep goats, engage in business and live positively”. Through the WASH project also funded by Dorcas, Ezekiel was further trained as an artisan where he perfected his skills in construction. As a result the project engages him in its construction activities. He has built houses, poultry units, goat units and VIP latrines for the project. This has increased his monthly income to an average of Kshs 20,000 per month. His health has improved and he is able to educate his children. One of his sons scored a mean grade of ‘A’ and is currently at the University.
He concludes, “My dream is to purchase necessary equipment, register a construction company and become a great constructor. I hope to employ other people in my community who are interested so that they can make a living. I also wish to become a mentor to those aspiring to follow my career as an artisan”