Saturday, August 9, 2008

I am called Ayoo Proscovia [part two/four]

The following is a first person story written by
IRMA advocate Ayoo Proscovia.

here to check out her Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocate bio.

This is the second of 4 installments. Read the first one here

In 1999 I joined Friends of TASO and as I became very familiar with the services provided by TASO and maybe the only teacher of my level of Education. I chose to go public about my HIV status.

In the school where I was the Headmistress, I used to talk a lot about HIV and in staff meetings I would encourage teachers to take the HIV test so as to know their status.

I went to the local FM Radio stations in my district and shared my status with the general public without any fear because I felt I needed to help others come out openly so as to get more AIDS support services. In 1999, I was elected as a member of TASO Tororo Centre Advisory committee (CAC). In 2002, I was elected the Vice Chairperson of CAC.

In December of the same year, I was elected the National Treasurer for the National Community of Women Living With HIV/AIDS in Uganda (NACWOLA). I continued growing to higher heights in openness about my status.

In August 1999, my husband died. There was a lot of struggle by my brothers-in-law to inherit me, but I refused having known my status. This annoyed them very much and I was immediately sent away from the home without anything at all, not even my own clothes or even beddings for the children. I carried not a single cup nor saucepan, plate or blanket. I went to some town suburb and started by renting in someone's kitchen at Uganda shs 10,000 per month sleeping under soot and with a lot of stress. I used to cry a lot. I grew very thin and weak as i was left helpless.

I was however able to continue with life by the support of TASO. They looked at me with a lot of respect and provided me with the support I needed .I gained strength, worked very hard and dedicated most of my time to HIV/AIDS activities.

However in 2002, the District Education Officer (D.E.O) transferred me to a school very far away from my new home. The school was about 18 kilometres away and I would commute. I would never be in school in time because I had to change vehicles at least 3 times before I could get there. I would never be in time to address school assemblies and I would also panic to leave the school early so as to get back home to open the door for my children who were also going to school in a different place. I used up all my monthly salaries on daily transport and by the end of the month I almost had nothing to spare. I believe this transfer to this far away school was done to fail me in my work since they knew I was HIV positive.

In 2003, the chairman of the school management committee lost his wife to HIV/AIDS and I intensified my talk and sensitization on HIV/AIDS and I think this man thought I was about to catch up with him. He was in total denial and had stayed pretending for long, but very sick.

Read the next installment of "I am called Ayoo Proscovia"
on Tuesday, August 12.

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