Friday, April 13, 2007

the stigma

so since I'm here also to work on my senior project, i am going to talk to you a little about the stigma i have found here in Zambia. a few weeks ago the widows were questioning Linda about when they would be able to get matrices. so about two weeks ago Linda ordered a bunch of them, and when they arrived the widows went crazy. They were so excited to see that they finally were going to be able to sleep on a soft surface! until they noticed a sign on the matrices that said you can get a matriss once you get a VTC( or a AIDS test)!
the widows were so mad at Linda! they were saying that she lied to them and was forcing them to get tested. even Beauty, who is key in the chikumbuso project was furious with Linda, they all felt that they shouldn't have to get tested, they didn't want to know! So Linda said, i have alot of grandmothers that would love to have these matrices, i guess i can give them all the the grandmothers. Linda was so upset, here she had been with most of these women for close to two years, they knew about AIDS, and yet almost all of them refuse to get tested themselves. they were talking to others who have aids, helping them get treated. they have all seen family members die of AIDS. the saddest thing is that Linda told us that many of the widows husbands died about two years ago, which means if they have not gotten sick from AIDS already, they will probably get the effects in the next year or two, and by then it might be too late!
a few days later the widows and Linda had a big chat. a woman named maketay stood up for Linda and told the women that we have no right to be mad at Linda. She loves us and this is the only reason that she is trying to get us to get the VTC! we shouldn't even be having this discussion about the matrices, these are a gift for doing something good for ourselves, Linda has helped us so much already, and that we should be helping ourselves by getting this test.
Many of the women apologized to linda for getting so mad, and i think that she said about 15 of the widows have not gotten the test. it is sad though because alot of them are coming out positive. but the good thing is that now that they have the medical proof that they have aids, they can get the treatment for it, which will help them to stay healthy.
we were talking to the widows and we asked them how they like their matrices. Maureen said it was wonderful, but she didn't get much sleep because she had seven kids who wanted to test out the new bead with her. but she said that one of these nights i will make sure i get to sleep in my bead all by myself. another woman said she got a whole nine hours of sleep on her new bed which was amazing. I'm glad that these women were able to work past the stigma and get tested. i hope it will make a huge difference in their lives, even if it will be hard for them.

i also noticed a billboard that had a young girl on it, and it said having sex with me will not cure AIDS! that was showing me that the government is try to get past the Africa myths.

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