DOB June 6, 2002
Came under Tumaini care early 2009.
Jenny, brother Baraka and Mama Sofia lived in the second worst “house” I visited during my stay in Usa River. Basically a shed, it was about 7’ x 8’, cobbled together with scrap lumber which didn’t keep out the cold or the mosquitos and was lined with whatever “insulation” the family could find. Old newspapers or cardboard was used. While I was there we moved Jenny and her family into a safer home (room) with a concrete floor and walls and are subsidizing their rent (approximately $28.00/month) until Mama Sofia (just 25 years old) can get ahead in her new rice business which we helped her start with a micro loan!
Jenny and her family used to live in Moshi, a neighboring city, until, after infecting her mother with HIV, Jenny’s father kicked the three of them out of their home to make room for his new woman. They moved to Usa River and slept on the dirt floor of a shed for months while Sofia got more and more sick and kept losing weight. She was finally diagnosed and has struggled with her health and the hopelessness of her situation ever since. She is a member of the group Langa ya Iruva (Light of God) the HIV/AIDS group I work with in Usa River and receives counseling, support and guidance.
On the day I visited their home I asked if there was food in the “house”. There was none. . . nothing but one tomato they were going share for supper. I asked if they’d eaten that day. They hadn’t. Mama Sofia asked me to take Jenny to Tumaini House because even public school (which averages 100 children/teacher and does not teach English) would cost her more than 100,000 Tsh. (About $85.00), an impossible amount of money for her to raise. Also, her health is deteriorating. (Proper nutrition, so hard to achieve in poverty stricken Usa River is imperative to counter the ravages of HIV.) Mama Sofia washed clothes for 2,000 Tsh per day (About $1.70), when she was healthy enough and could find the work, but she is stigmatized for being HIV+ and many people won’t allow her to work for them. Her hope is that we’d take Jenny, get her settled into Tumaini House and then into school. If Sofia’s health continues to deteriorate we will need to help with baby brother Baraka also, because these children only have their mother, but we hope that with her new business Sofia’s financial situation will improve and so will her health!
We took all of the children of Tumaini House to Dr. Lyimo’s office for medicals before I returned to Canada. In Jenny’s case, Dr. Lyimo discovered that she required deworming and that she had ringworm on her nose for which she was treated. Her weight is not too bad for her age, although she is a tall, gangly girl who loves to wear trousers, (like myself, but uncustomary for women in Tanzania).
I am returning to Usa River at Christmas to move Jenny and the other children into Tumaini House, get them registered for school (hopefully private and not public) and put our new policies into place.