Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rwanda Clinic: Are Words Enough?

Last year, I reported in Rwanda for the Times Colonist on a fellowship from the Jack Webster Foundation.
I met Josee Mukamusoni at the We-Actx clinic where she worked. In bits of English, French and Kinyarwanda she told me the her story of the genocide - in which her husband and child died in her arms, how she was raped and contracted HIV and the years of fear and poverty after. Her job at the clinic is to listen to other women's stories and help them get their lives back. She asked me to share some of their stories. Here is the text and photos she sent.


An other patient I received is called UWAMAHORO Shakila ID 223825 ASS SWAA,She is 20 years old, she has various social problems, her parents are both dead and stayed with 4 young sisters, she does not study and has no job.
After the death of the parents, these children joined the friend of their mum but this one was also HIV/AIDS infected and died very shortly.
The husband of this woman started having sex with this girl by force and slept with her many times. When he knew that it has been know by the public, he threw her away. she went to live with her elder sister who was already married and she was living with the other 4 young sisters.
After arriving there, her elder sister has been arrested and been prisonned while his husband exiled and none knows where he is.
This girl is responsible for her 4 young sisters in addition to other 3 children left by her elder sister.
They are now 8 children; they had no money to rent the house and the owner made them get out. Shakila along with all of these children went to the friend of their sister who is now in jail. This friend who received them sells Avocadoes and tomatoes on illegal basket.
All of these things happened when she was only 16 years old, she got tested in WE_ACTx and and her result was Positive, she live with HIV/AIDS and she is under ARVTreatment, she has no hope for tomorrow, she is always unhappy; even though we advise her but her life is not good.
That’s all about her


REPORT OF February 5th, 2009

I have received a patient called IYAKAREMYE Felix, ID 222614/ASS he is 12 years old and now studying in 2nd year of primary school and under Bactrim treatment.
This boy has only his mum because his dad is dead.
He has 1 brother and one sister called MUNGANYINKA Jeannine who is 14 years old studying in 4th, but his sister is not HIV/AIDS infected.
In fact one his brothers got lost so long time like 10 years ago, they are now
Their mum is 40 years old but she has got a boyfriend of 20 years old, they are all tested in WE_ACTx but this woman is HIV/AIDS infected unlike the boy who is Negative but their relationship remained the same. As they were living as married ones, the woman was already pregnant.
Finally, they both decided to live together but not with the children; the woman sold every thing they had including their land, on the day of leaving these children though that they would go together along with their mum’s boy friend but he made them get out of the car by force and started leaving together with their mum.
The children had to do nothing else than crying and calling their mum but she was already gone.
They went to see a friend of her mum and stayed they for 4 days as she was not able to feed them and care about them, she sent them to their grand mother(the mother of their mum) who was 85 years old, she weaves the handcraft object to earn her lives.
This girl cares about her brother does not study any more.
This is all about what he told me.

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