Christina thinks she is 38 years old (many women don’t know the exact year they are born or their birthdate); she is living in a small village affected badly by Malaria near Majete Game Reserve in Malawi.
Christina lives in a house with a single room; she lives with her second husband. Christina has birthed 5 children; she has lost 4 to unknown causes while they were young.
As Christina speaks to me, she sits in front of her home; her eyes are empty and void of emotion, she is a woman resigned to her life. I learn that the food she has stored from her last harvest (4 bags of maize) is not enough to last her family until the next harvest (should would need double what she has stored) but there is nothing that can be done.
As we sat together we looked at each other with curiosity for a long while, I wonder if she like me was also thinking ”what would my life be like if I was born in your country?”
I am sure Christina had never been told that she is amazing, limitless or ever been given any opportunity to thrive; she does not believe that she is capable of anything more and she has never known what it is like to be supported and nurtured.
As I held her hand and walked with her I felt such a strong sense of connection to her. We sometimes forget as humans how much we are alike, how much we are connected and that we all have the same hopes and desires in life.
We visited a community in Nchalo that THP had been working in since 1999.
We met an older woman called Christina who was a part of an HIV support group; she was also the carer of her grand daughter Deborah, as her daughter had died from AIDS.
Her granddaughter Deborah was also HIV positive but was receiving medication from the THP epicentre clinic and was in good health.
Christina spoke passionately with determination and strength of hers and the support group’s commitment to the message of living a positive life.
The group met each week on a Thursday to support and encourage each other, no longer fearing taboo of the disease.
Christina was simply not accepting of the situation of old and was demanding that her community change not only their view on HIV, but also the view of the life of women, men and children living with HIV.
Christina was empowered and determined to make change! She was committed to a greater vision of her life and her community.