I Want to Live!

Document Sample
I Want to Live! Powered By Docstoc
					 I Want
to Live!



      Published by
    Mukuba Art Trust
         2009

 Printed by Mission Press
                 Deceived In the
                  Name of Life
                  Mutuka Namwawa, Chiwala High School, Ndola

Isn't she glamorous? Is she not living the dream? Who is she? She's every
man's dream and God's gift to the world.'
The above is the full conclusion that every man, woman, girl or boy who
knows Kabalu makes, as they come face to face with her mesmerizing beauty.
Zipping through school with a record envied by many, she graduated from
high school at the age of 15, with a fabulous 8 points, and by 22, was a
University graduate holding a minor in Economics, and a major in Law. She
comes from a loving family and was brought up to always value and uphold
spiritual principles regarding morality.
To add glamour to her life, she has a good job at MINAMATA law firm where
she is everyone's favourite and she leads a great social life. To crown it all,
Kabalu has an amazing and caring boyfriend called Mateba.
Kabalu and Mateba have had wonderful times together. They actually met in
University. Mateba was in the School of Natural Sciences while Kabalu was in
the School of Humanities. Everything was perfect until Mateba thought he had
had enough of Kabalu and it was time he left her, but before leaving her,
Mateba told himself that he had to sleep with her and dump her afterwards.
Deep down, he knew this was going to be hard, knowing that Kabalu was
decent, but he was consoled by the fact that Kabalu loved him genuinely and
would do anything to be with him and so he knew what to tell her the next time
they met.
It was a beautiful Saturday. Kabalu was not working that day and she and
Mateba settled on having lunch together at her favourite restaurant called
'LOVE BOAT'. Kabalu and Mateba talked of many things as they both were
great talkers and Mateba had a good sense of humour and told very good jokes
that made Kabalu go wild.
It was during the dessert that Mateba spoke his evil thoughts, making it clear to
Kabalu that if she wanted their relationship to continue, she just had to comply.
Kabalu tried to reason with Mateba that waiting for marriage was the best thing
they should do, but he asked her what difference it would make. If she claimed
to love him, why not go all the way and prove it? Kabalu asked for time to think
about it.
When she went home, she was confused and did not know what to do, and so
she called her best friend, Namwila when she got home. Kabalu narrated the

                                       1
situation and to her surprise, Namwila simply laughed and informed her that
geographically, there are 97 men for 100 women, meaning that while one
woman has a man, three others do not and if Kabalu wanted to play the 'I WILL
REMAIN A VIRGIN TILL I GET MARRIED' game, she should suit herself,
but she was at high risk of losing her man. She further stated that since she was
going to be married to Mateba, what difference did it make when they started
having sex?
Though she was doubtful about the advice she had been given, Kabalu did as
Namwila and Mateba wanted her to do. Having got what he wanted, Mateba
deserted Kabalu. She only got an e-mail saying their relationship could not
continue.
Kabalu cried, sobbed and mourned after she had read the mail. The only thing
in her mind was that Kabalu had deceived her in the name of love. She took a
long time to get over this disappointment. However as they say, trouble comes
in pairs and just when she had forgotten about this incident, on a routine check
at the hospital, it was discovered that she had contracted the HIV/AIDS virus!
She was even more devastated.
When Namwila came to see her, Kabalu only said one thing to her: 'I WANT
TO LIVE'. Namwila was surprised as to why the friend said these words, and
when she saw the paper that gave the results of the HIV test, tears poured from
her eyes. She looked at her friend and saw that she was truly determined to live.
Namwila apologized for have been a deceitful friend. Kabalu learned to live a
positive life with the help of her friends and family and the love and
understanding that they have shown her.
Kabalu wakes up every morning and looks at herself and around her and tells
herself not everyone is as lucky as she is. It is with this thought that she is
determined to continue fighting because she wants to live, and that is all she
wants: TO LIVE.




                                       2
                WE ARE VIABLE
                            LUCY NAMUMBA,
        ST JOHN CONVENT SECONDARY SCHOOL, KITWE

It was April and we had just closed schools and I thought of nothing else apart
from home sweet home as I waited for my father at the car park. He soon drove
in and ran towards him and hugged him after which we packed my bags into
the car and drove out of Choma Girls Boarding School. All I could think of was
home and its leisure of Tv, warm water, music, junk food and not forgetting my
friends. All these were my dreams as we drove along, not knowing the real
horror that awaited me at home.
It was a long drive but we eventually reached home and my mum and young
brother were screaming out my name in pleasure. We unloaded my bags and I
quickly ran into the house to freshen up, and then hurried to the dinner table.
To my surprise, seated right across the table was a strange, attractive looking
figure, expensively dressed like one from an American music video. He was
introduced as my famous uncle Mark from South Africa. Admittedly I had
heard much about him but had never met him in person. Mark was a
businessman who travelled the whole world so I was told, but what exactly he
dealt in, I have never known to this day.
My holiday was not as exciting as I expected. As always my parents were up
and down and most of my friends had gone visiting their relations on holiday
contrary to those of us who were in boarding schools who preferred to spend
our holidays with in our parent's homes.
Because of the boring nature of the holiday, I stayed home most of the time.
Typical of youngsters, my brother rarely stayed home but went to play outside
with his friends.
One day, as had become typical of the days, it was only I and uncle Mark who
were in the house. We had been a watching a not so interesting movie in the
living room, and so I decided to go to my room for a nap. To my shock, uncle
Mark followed behind me. I thought he wanted me to get him something, so I
stopped and asked, but he did not respond.
Moving closer to me, he pushed me to the door which he flung open. I fell to
the floor as he locked the door behind him. I asked him again, now scared, but
at the same time rudely. It was as though he was deaf as he pushed me on to the
bed. My efforts at pushing him away were in vain, and I used more energy than
made progress. I tried to scream in protest but he covered my mouth with his
sweaty palm and threatened to kill me if I dared to scream, or worse tell anyone
about it, after which he raped me. I had never ever thought that a girl like me
would be a victim of rape. I had always felt so secure in my parent's home.
                                       3
This was the first, but definitely not the last time he raped me. He did it almost
every day, at times even at night when my parents were asleep. For the first
time in my boarding school career, the end of the holiday was a blessed relief
and it was an answer to my prayers.
I returned to school for the second term. By this time, no one knew about my
misfortune as I had not disclosed it to a single soul. During the term, I spent
most of my evenings at the basketball court or any other place where I would
be alone and weep bitter tears. I felt so rejected by God and at times blamed
myself.
Soon, and too soon, we closed for the second time. This time I was not as
excited about going home as I had been previously. I steeled myself against
this moment, and sure enough, to my great misfortune, one of the first people I
found on reaching home as I arrived was uncle Mark.
Just as I feared, he continued raping me. When I had returned to school for the
third term, I remember calling home one day and my father told me that Mark
was suffering from a strange disease. He did not explain very well until I as
home for the Christmas holiday and I found out that Mark was HIV Positive.
His disease was advanced due to his careless lifestyle, alcohol consumption
and not taking his medication.
When I heard the full details of this, I fell and collapsed. I cannot exactly tell
what happened, but I found myself in a hospital ward. I could not explain to my
parents what had caused me to collapse like that. I was quiet and depressed
most of the time till it was time to go back to school for my final year.
Obviously, I was excited to be going back to school and completing my
secondary school education. Unfortunately, my health was not good. It
deteriorated day by day from malaria, flu, other fevers, headache, running
stomach and the like. I lost my appetite and no longer played for the school
basketball team because I was weak and had lost a lot of weight. I was horrified
when I looked at myself in the mirror. I could hardly recognize myself when I
looked at myself in the mirror. My skin was pale, my long thick, natural hair
had fallen off and changed colour. My skin? Oh, it was as though I was covered
in thick layers of scales. I had a terrible rash. I could no longer attend lessons
and slept alone in my dormitory while my friends were in class, learning, and
most of them had now deserted me.
My condition worried the Principal who called my parents. My father came
almost immediately and took me home, and later the same day, to the hospital.
The doctor suggested that I be tested for HIV, which they did, and the results
turned out to be positive. This only depressed me more. In the next six months
my condition worsened and got to the state where I did not even go to school.
The doctors did their best to counsel me, but all in vain. I thought about how I
was going to die while I was so young. \
It was only when I was taken to a psychiatrist that it was disclosed to my

                                        4
parents that I had been raped by my uncle repeatedly in the last 13 to 14
months. My parents did not take this lightly and they reported to the case to the
police but it was too late. Mark was seriously ill, and struggling for his life, and
after only two days, he passed away. This made my situation even worse as
thoughts of me dying, like Mark did, flooded my mind each and every day.
Incredibly, my parents blamed me for not telling them about the whole
situation in the first place. Members of my family isolated themselves from
me. No one wanted to associate themselves with an HIV infected person like
me. I now had my own eating utensils and was not allowed to cook or even
share the toilet with everyone. I was restricted to the toilet in my room. I lost
my childhood friends who stopped greeting me, having been discouraged
from doing so by their parents. They told them that I was bad company and
they would end up wasted like me. At such moments I felt truly worthless. I
felt as if I was as good as dead. I spent days in my room, lifeless, cold and dead.
I was silent. Away from everyone, so much that they thought I was dead
already.
My father did not care for me. He said I had already been wasted so he could
waste any of his investment in me. My mother on the other hand, is the one
who helped me to pull through. Maybe she felt guilty that it was her brother
who had done such a terrible thing to me. She took me to the hospital for a
check. Immediately, ARVs were commenced for my CD4 count was low. I did
not care for such, and instead of taking the medicine, I threw it in the bin.
Fortunately, my mother caught me in the act of throwing away the medicines
while I pretended I had drank them, and she now took charge of my
medication and made sure I took it in her presence. This went on for weeks,
and slowly, I regained my strength and began to feel better.
I now realized that I was not doing myself a favour by not taking the
medication, and thanks to my committed mother, I discovered the fruits of
adherence. I now set the alarm to wake me up at night, and to remind me
during the day. I put my drugs on the sink in the bathroom so I would see them
first thing in the morning, before I even brushed my teeth. I marked my
calendar with different colours of ink, each day, every colour representing a
dose. I move around with a medicine box everywhere I go, and now I am on
track.
My life has now changed, and now I am on track. I move with a medicine box
everywhere I go. I eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and avoid a lot
of cholesterol. I do my best to keep fit by jogging every morning. I have joined
an HIV Infected Support Group where I interact with other people and we
encourage each other to live. This has helped me to change my attitude
towards myself. I realized that it was self-stigma and community attitude that
was killing me.


                                        5
Who said infected people do not have the right to education?
 I returned to school early this year. Even though I am infected, I have a bright
f u t u r e . I w a n t t o s t u d y l a w b e c a u s e
I want to see the day when HIV infected people like me, are treated fairly in
their community, work places, places of worship, and in courts of law.
I want to live to be an inspiration and a model for others in my situation, and
help those others who are misled into thinking that HIV is death sentence. I
want to be living testimony of a healthy infected person. I want to educate my
community about HIV/AIDS and breathe new life into those who are infected.


             YES, WE ARE VIABLE. YES, I WANT TO LIVE.




                                       6
7
8
      You are stigmatizing them
                                TABO CHISANGA
              FATIMA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL, NDOLA

It was a bright glorious morning when Nkundwe woke up, peeped through the
window and stretched her hands. “Wow, it's a weekend. At least, I don't have
my job to worry about.”
She quickly washed her face, brushed her teeth and prepared a mouth-
watering breakfast for herself, which she ate to the fullest. A minute later, there
was a knock at the door. It was the Postman delivering a letter. Eager to know
what was in the letter, Nkundwe said 'thank you' and immediately opened the
envelope.
This is what the letter said:
Dear Nkundwe,

I hope all is well and you are enjoying life in your new home.
I write this letter to tell you the sad tidings. I have just been delivered of a set of
twins, girls. The family and I are happy, but the Chief and the rest of the village
think it is abnormal to give birth to twins and worse, they are HIV Positive
because I didn't take precautions when I was giving birth.
The Chief decided that they should be killed because they might bring
misfortune to the village with the virus that they have. The Chief believes that
my twins might cause people here to have the virus.
I tried to take the case to court but all in vain. You, being a lawyer, would help
me greatly and so, I am kindly asking for your favour to help me with this
situation.

Greetings from every one,
Yours sincerely,
Aunt Esther.


Upon reading this letter, her heart was filled with pity. She decided to leave for
the village at once, while thinking of the whole situation her Aunt was in.
She reached the village in good time and was welcomed by all her cousins. She
took a look at her baby cousins, looking so sweet, all dressed up in pink.
“Something really has to be done,” she said. “These babies deserve to live.”
Nkundwe went at once to have a discussion with the Chief.


                                          9
 However, the Chief was in an uncompromising mood and he chased her away
saying that she knew nothing about their customs and traditions.
When this news reached her aunt, she began to cry. This prompted Nkundwe to
sue the Chief and the Elders, but even this did not change the Chief's idea of
killing the babies.
The whole night, Nkundwe's aunt cried, knowing that the following morning,
her babies would be parted from her. Nkundwe comforted her aunt.
  Still depressed, her aunt fell asleep. Nkundwe, being very worried, had
already organized for the arrest of the Chief and the Elders.
Early the following day, drums were heard beating. They were conducting a
ritual that morning, before killing the twins in order to chase away their spirits
which they believed were evil due to them being HIV positive. There were
women ululating, girls dancing and boys whistling. Suddenly the noise
became louder. The people were heading towards Nkundwe's aunt's house.
Without knocking, they blasted the door open and took hold of the babies.
Nkundwe's aunt and her other relatives did not know what to do and they
began to cry. This was around 05:00 hours. They took the babies and laid them
out to be killed, but no sooner had they laid the babies down to be sacrificed to
the Spirits than the police arrived, firing gunshots in the air in order to stop the
whole spectacle. Nkundwe had arranged all this and she gave a chuckle when
she saw how the Chief's face became angry.
“You are under arrest for attempted murder,” said the policemen in a chorus.
“You have the right to remain silent…”
'I don't know what you are talking about. I'm the Chief. I make my own rules,
and no one, I repeat, no one is going to arrest me.”
“Your Majesty, remain silent,” said the leader of the policemen as he ordered
for the handcuffing of the Chief and the Elders.
This brought total silence to the village. The Chief and the Elders were then
driven to the Police Station where they were asked questions regarding the
murder attempt.
The next day, as arranged by Nkundwe, there was a court case. The Chief was
standing in the dock while his Elders were among the audience. Some minutes
later, his lawyer walked in. he looked smart, but not as smart as Nkundwe. As
the Judge came in the court was ordered to rise. He took his seat and began to
speak.

“As charged by the police and the investigators, you are accused of wanting to
kill babies who were found to be HIV Positive. What do you have to say? The
Judge asked the Chief.
“Your honour, it is our tradition to kill any abnormally born child, especially if
they have complications like the HIV virus. The whole village will die if these
children live.”

                                         10
“As charged by the police and the investigators, you are accused of wanting to
kill babies who were found to be HIV Positive. What do you have to say? The
Judge asked the Chief.
“Your honour, it is our tradition to kill any abnormally born child, especially if
they have complications like the HIV virus. The whole village will die if these
children live.”
“I don't get the sense of you calling them abnormals. Giving birth to twins is
not abnormal. It is normal. As for the virus, it was not their intention to have it.
Tell me, why should they be killed?” the Judge asked.
“Your honour, a woman is supposed to give birth to one child and not more
according to our tradition. And for these babies to have the virus, the spirits
must have been angry with them. As a result, they will bring a lot of misfortune
to the village.”
“Well, let us hear what your opponents have to say.”
Nkundwe stood up confidently, but looking so indignant that it made the Chief
feel uneasy. She began asking the Chief questions while looking at him with
piercing eyes. “Have you heard of human rights?”
“Yes, Madam.”
“I don't think you have because if you say you have heard about them, you
wouldn't be acting in such an insolent manner. Every human being has a right
to live, regardless of them being HIV Positive or not. You are stigmatizing
them, for Christ's sake! These babies are as innocent as they look and they do
not deserve to be killed. They need to be loved and to be cared for. This will
make them live longer. In addition to this, how can the babies spread the virus
if not through blood transfusion or sexual intercourse? The virus is not
airborne. Keep that in your mind, Your Majesty, and it can't be spread through
kitchen utensils or through hugging.”
“Objection, Your Honour,” the Chief's lawyer exclaimed. It is their custom
and belief that such babies bring misfortune to the village and you have to be
loyal to their beliefs.”
“Nonsense,” Nkundwe exclaimed. “Being HIV Positive doesn't make you any
different from everyone else. By the way, there are ARVs which will help the
babies to live longer and perhaps become important people in the future. Can
you drop all these funny beliefs and open up your minds. These babies have a
right to live. Their being twins does not cause them to have HIV. The virus
does not choose. It can attack any person. I think you need to have some
knowledge of the virus.”
Upon finishing talking, Nkundwe sat down. The Judge had now come to his
conclusion. “Your Majesty, with all the information I have gathered, you have
been found guilty of attempted murder. I sentence you to three years in prison
with hard labour.”


                                         11
With these words, the Chief broke out in tears. He could not say anything else
to support his case. As for Nkundwe, the twins and her relatives, it was their
most joyful moment on earth.
“The twins deserved to live and for sure they will live,” said Nkundwe joyfully
as they went back to the village.
`




                                      12
                  I Want to Live,
                      PAMELA NKONDE,
              IPUSUKILO HIGH SCHOOL , MUFULIRA

Patience, a beautiful, young, hard working and intelligent girl finds herself
tangled up in a dilemma of how she is going to live because of her current
condition of having AIDS.
She lived a life of luxury and glamour. She was the most envied of the girls at
her school, but now all that is no more, because she let herself be over powered
by pressure. Just after making it to high school, Patience thought she had the
whole world at her fingertips and everything she did was just to please her
friends because she wanted them not to think of her as an old-fashioned girl
because now everyone was doing away with culture and with her motto called:
'KEEPING UP WITH TRENDS', a culture where everyone went around half
naked. That was the new life she adopted and she would not take any advice
from anyone, not even her own mother. If there was any adult she listened to, it
was her Sugar Daddy who was always whispering sweet words in her ears.
Slowly but surely, her Mum developed chronic depression and months later,
she died. Now Patience was a double orphan with two young siblings. A few
months after the death of her mother, she received a letter from her Sugar Dad.

 It read:
Patience my dear, you have been such a good girl to me and that's why I have
decided to let you out of my life because I want to concentrate of my family.
After all, I have got all I wanted from you.
Patience was shocked, hurt, disappointed and humiliated at the same time,
however, as she was about to write her final Grade 12 examinations, she
decided to concentrate on her studies and forget her Sugar Daddy. However,
this was not easily done as she soon discovered that she was pregnant. She
called up her Sugar Daddy to tell him about this, but all she got from him was
an emphatic repetition of what she had been told earlier, that he wanted to have
nothing to do with her, and this time, he also advised her to go for an HIV test.
She was shocked as to why he would suggest that she do that, and the thought
that there was something wrong, suddenly made her feel ill and she was
admitted to hospital. She lost weight extremely fast and seeing what was
happening, she thought she should take the HIV test, and it proved to be
positive!
'I WANT TO LIVE,' are the words she screamed out when she was given the
result. However, she wondered how this was going to be since she was HIV
Positive.

                                       13
However, she was assured by the nurse that it was possible to continue living
even if she was HIV Positive and she decided that she was doing to do exactly
that.
Despite facing such problems as missing the examination because she was in
hospital and worst of all, losing her pregnancy, she did not give up. Her new
found faith helped her to gain her life back. Her fighting spirit saw her
overcome her obstacles, and she managed to ask for forgiveness from her
family and friends. They welcomed her with open arms despite her earlier
lifestlyle, following the traditional proverb, 'UMWANA KASEMBE
NGAKAKUKOMA KABWELA WAKOBEKA'.
Right now she is living a positive life and she is working with peer groups in
order to educate her fellow youths about the dangers of peer pressure.




                                      14
         I have the Confidence
  CHISECHE MAUMBA, KALULUSHI HIGH SCHOOL, NDOLA

The sun shines brightly. The birds are chirping in the trees. A warm gentle
breeze greets my nostrils and I know it will be a beautiful day. I want to live. I
say to myself, 'Oh, I do want to live'. My mouth twists into a smile, and oh, how
strange that feels. For a long time now, tears alone have been my company.
Was it not just a week ago that I was described as 'Miss Celebrity' by many due
to my God-given gifts? 'A Voice from the Caribbean' they would say about my
beautiful voice. It is not my intention to boast but my life has been
characterized by unending flawless bliss. A rare combination of beauty,
intelligence and decency, among other things, clearly depicts why I was loved
and admired by many.
The sad story of my life began when my parents divorced. I was 13 by then and
the youngest in a family of four. With a stream of tears, I watched as my mother
packed her bags and left. I wondered when I would ever see her again.
Growing up without a mother was so hard. As an adolescent and the only girl in
the family, there were many questions that were not answered. Being a
daughter of a successful business man helped even less. My father was always
too busy for the family and thus we were not close at all.
The incident I am about to narrate happened in early June. I was in Grade 10
then. Two of my brothers had just left for university and I remained at home
alone with Dad. It was very lonely on this day, and I decided to have an early
night. This is the fateful night that my father forced his manhood on me. I
screamed out, but the more I screamed, the more he enjoyed himself. After
doing his devilish act, he told me never to tell anyone. “EVERY FATHER
DOES THIS TO HIS DAUGHTER,” he mockingly whispered. “IT IS MY
DUTY TO INTRODUCE YOU TO WOMANHOOD,” he teasingly added.
From that night onwards, I lost touch with the world. My life was meaningless.
I was traumatized to the extent where life was not worth living. I took to drugs
and excessive drinking of alcohol. In the process, I met a rich, handsome
young man named Raymond who was aged twenty-two.
I fell in love with him and gave in to whatever he wanted. Money is all I wanted
from him and it made our relationship go higher and higher. I told him about
the 'monster' of a Dad that I had and he understood and comforted me. He made
me feel special. He bought me presents and took me to different clubs and
restaurants. I was one of those who would cut classes to travel to various
places just to have fun.
Of course sex was part of our arrangement, and we had it without a condom.

                                       15
 However, what I noticed after I had sex with him was that he began treating me
differently. He now started moving with different girls. When I asked him, he
said that was part of his life.
It was then that I decided to go for an HIV test. I tested positive and this made
me even more devastated than before. I decided to tell Dad about my status,
but he ended up kicking me out of the house saying I had brought dishonor to
his name because I had been moving around with a playboy like Raymond and
had acquired AIDS in the process, and yet it was either him or Raymond who
had infected me. I went to seek refuge at my mother's house but she also
turned her back on me because I was HIV Positive.
Driven by anger and loneliness, I decided to report my parents to the Victim
Support Unit, but it was rather too late, as my Dad had left for the United States
of America, and as for my mother, efforts to apprehend her were also in vain as
she was knocked down by a car and died on the spot, the day before. Upon
hearing of my mother's death, I thought of committing suicide, but at the last
minute, something in me told me not to.
If you see me now, you will notice that my beauty has faded away because of
the HIV virus. Many people have shunned me because of my status. Right now
I have been admitted to hospital. I know that I may not have the strength, but I
have the confidence that one day, an HIV free generation will come. I look at
how I got here and realize it was not my fault. I was a victim of the greed of
men.
But I will not give up. Although stigma has become part of my life, I persevere.
Sometimes I feel like I can make the sun shine by shouting 'I want to live!' let
us not stigmatise those living with HIV. Let us show them the love, care and
comfort that they deserve.




                                       16
     We need to stand strong
                    CAROL NAMUKOKO,
             MPATAMATU HIGH SCHOOL, LUANSHYA



H        IV/AIDS, which is a deadly disease, has killed and separated many
         families in the world. Everyone wishes to die if they are diagnosed
         HIV Positive because of the stigma, rejection and hostility they face
from the world.
This is how everything started or changed from happiness to sadness. My
father was working in another town, Chingola, while we lived elsewhere. One
week, when my mother went to Chingola to visit my father, she left me with
my uncle. My uncle, being the oldest at home is the one who was going all the
cooking and preparing me to go to school. I was only a small girl and doing
Grade Six at Suzika Private School.
On a certain day around 18:00 hours after I had knocked off from school, I
went into my bedroom, and I was just alone when my uncle came in. He drew
close to me and started touching me in a way he had never done before. I asked
him why he was touching me in that way and all he said was that he loved me. I
told him to stop what he wanted to do and I threatened that I would report him
to my mother when she came back. I decided that I should leave my room but
he would not let my hand free. He held me so firmly that I could not slip off
from his strong arms. He threw me on the bed, and it was not until I saw him
unzipping his trousers that I realized what he wanted to do. I tried to free
myself from him while screaming for help. He quickly covered my mouth with
a towel then held both my hands with one of his hands. Within a short time I felt
a sharp pain on my private parts, and I cried out, but there was no one to save
me.
After succeeding in defiling me, he asked me how I felt and I told him that I
hated him and that I would report him to my mother. For sure I hated him for
what he had done. After all, there was nothing I had enjoyed except for the pain
that he left me with. He finally warned me not to tell anybody about what he
had done. He said to me, “If you tell your mother, and father, they will severely
beat you.”
When my mother returned from Chingola, I didn't tell her anything for fear of
being severely beaten. After some days, she noticed something strange in the
way I walked and in the way my face appeared. She told me that I was not
looking happy and at the same time I was walking like a person who had sores
between her thighs. I said there was nothing wrong with me, but she insisted
that the was something wrong, and she instantly suggested a medical check-up
for me.

                                       17
At the hospital, the doctor confirmed that someone had had carnal knowledge
of me. My mother was so cross that she phoned my father and told him the bad
news, and he immediately came home.
When he arrived, both he and my mother took me into the sitting room and
asked me who was responsible for defiling me. I was very scared to tell them
the truth, but my father assured me that everything was going to be all right.
After this assurance, I disclosed the truth that it was my uncle who had forced
himself on me.
My father was very annoyed with my uncle but could do nothing to him as he
had disappeared the minute he heard that my father had come back from
Chingola. To my surprise, my father rebuked me and called me a bitch. He told
me that he had always advised me to keep a distance from my uncle. But
surely, how could I have known that my own uncle would be capable of doing
what he had done to me, his own niece?
The following day, my father took me to a Health Centre for an HIV test and
the result was negative, but the doctor advised him to take me back after three
or four months. When we went back after this period, the result was positive. I
felt very bad, but there was nothing I could do. The doctor gave me a lot of
encouragement. He told me that I was not on a death sentence but that I should
continue living positively. He told me that many people with the virus lived for
many years and so even I would live for many years. We went home with those
words in my mind and I was determined to live positively and continue with
my education despite the looks I got from my friends at school.
I continued going to school and after sitting the Grade Seven examination, I
qualified for Grade Eight at Mpatamatu High School. This was like a fresh
start of my life.
Although my heart was filled with pain and hate, I decided to leave the pain
behind. I made up my mind that if I went up to and completed Grade Twelve, I
would do a good course, get a decent job, and win back my father's favour.
Most of all I vowed that I would live positively since I had already accepted my
status.
I am now in Grade 12 and looking forward to passing my examinations with
flying colours.

I, therefore, want to take this opportunity to encourage my friends that we
ought to live and achieve our dreams. I believe that the pillar to success is
having hope. We can't reach that which is hanging while sitting down.
We need to stand strong, refrain from casual sex and stay safe. Only through
these will our dreams come true.




                                      18
      Think of a Good Future
         ROSE MUMBA, MUKUBA HIGH SCHOOL KITWE

It might sound clichéd, but life inspired me. God has given me many chances
to live life to the fullest and that's exactly what I'm doing and no one goes to the
river in the morning and brings dirty water. As you are up this morning, may
your life be clean, calm and clear like the early morning water. Hold on to your
dream and it will be well with you. To live is to grow and breathe and life is all
about growing and breathing. Even the Bible states that every human being
was created for a purpose.
Indeed I have a purpose to live. Why should I die because of the scourge of
HIV/AIDS? I say 'no' (to die of the scourge). When I was first infected, I did
not know exactly what was troubling me. I became pregnant and at the ante-
natal clinic, I got tested since it was part of the whole process to screen
mothers. The result came out positive. I went home and told my husband. Both
of us agreed to hide the information from the rest of the family. I knew my
status when the pregnancy was just four months old. The baby born was a
beautiful girl. I did not breast feed her. This is the time my condition worsened.
I became very sick and the baby lived for only nine months.
As the family came to mourn our daughter, instead they were mourning for me
as I looked like a ghost. I was the talk of the funeral. I could see people
whispering to one another. I tried to pretend but I knew the thing that we had
hidden from the family was no longer a secret. The family sat down to discuss
what was troubling me. My aunt, a teacher, confronted my brother and
demanded that I be taken for VCT. When my brother talked to me, and I was
very open with him and told that him that I was positive and that I knew my
status just when I fell pregnant. It had almost been two years since I had known
my status.
My brother asked many questions including why I kept the information away
from them for that long. My husband and I were attacked by my relatives for
hiding this information.
Immediately after this, I fell ill and was admitted to hospital. My mind was
affected. I did not want to see certain people including my husband. Each time
I saw him, I felt sicker and the doctor ordered my family not to let him come
and visit me. This did not only extend to my husband. Even when the church
members came to visit me, I would go into hallucinations. My mind was sick. I
almost went mad.
One morning, I was alone in the ward. My aunt had gone to escort the visitors
who had come to see me. I climbed to the window and tried to throw myself
down so as to die.

                                        19
 Luckily before I jumped, a nurse came into the room and held me by the leg
while shouting for help.
My aunt came in and found the nurse struggling with me. I was given an
injection to calm me down. Shortly after this, I was discharged and went to my
brother's house.
Now, it was my aunt who took total charge of me. Most of what was happening
was because I took too long in denial stage. I did not believe that my husband
and I were sick. I really thank the Lord that I was looked after by an aunt who
was educated and understood what I was going through. She talked to me and
advised me to accept the condition, get medication, and eat nutritious foods.
After long talks from my family, I accepted my status. Immediately, things
changed. I responded very well to the medication and I gained weight quickly.
I am now all right, and each time I hear a person is sick, I do not hesitate to go
and give them hope as I have seen many people die because they lack
information from friends, especially people like myself who are infected with
the virus but are living positively.
Today, dying of HIV/AIDS should not be because there are medicines
available to prolong the lives of people. I have taken the scourge to be like any
other disease, for example, diabetes, malaria and others. I am now in a group of
couples who are infected at church. We have come together. Indeed one day,
the Lord will wipe out this disease once and for all. It is because of this that
mankind should protect those of us who have HIV/ AIDS. We must not lose
hope. We must think positively because positive thoughts create love, joy, and
laughter, which are beneficial for our general well being.
We should all have hope and believe that we can live a long and healthy life.
Think of love. Think of light. Think of God. Listen and talk to God in whatever
way you do. It does not matter what religion you follow. Know that your God
will love, guide and protect you. Have the light of God in your heart and things
will be better. Think of a good future. Others have done so and remained strong
and healthy.




                                       20
   The answer was a 'NO'!
                        MUBANGA ALUTULI
                     PAMODZI GIRLS, MUFULIRA

Evelyn and Jessica, beautiful seventeen year old twin sisters, whose parents
had earlier passed on, lived with their grandmother in a village near Kasama.
Whenever people in Mbaita Village saw a tall, slender, light-skinned and well-
structured girl, they knew it was either Evelyn or Jessica, but they could not
tell which one it was for the girls were very identical indeed.
Although the girls always managed to have smiles on their faces, life was no
bed of roses for them because they knew not what it felt like to have three
meals a day, or rest their head on a soft and warm bed.
Despite their poor status, dear old grandmother never missed an opportunity to
tell Evelyn and Jessica, “My dear great granddaughters, life is not about what
you have. Mostly it is about what you do with it. Life is not about the beauty
you have, but it is about what you do with it.” Whenever the grandmother
spoke, Jessica listened with undistracted attention and could hardly wait for
the next lecture, while Evelyn was reluctant to attend these lecture sessions,
brushing off what her twin sister considered as healthy food for the mind, and
she did everything in her power to avoid these lectures.
Regardless of their continued poor state, Grandmother and her
granddaughters were happy at work and play, until one fateful day, dear old
Granny went to sleep and never woke up. After the funeral, Evelyn and Jessica
went to live with their Uncle in the city.
Unfortunately for these girls, their Uncle was involved in a road accident and
never made it out of the hospital. Jessica could not stop crying. ”Why Granny
and Uncle? Who is going to take care of us now?” While Jessica mourned thus,
Evelyn would reply: “Relax, Jess. People come and go. We are big girls now.
We can take care of ourselves. Remember Granny's words: ' it is not about the
beauty you have, but how you use it'. Now, if you were a man, it is a tough
world for men out there, but for a girl, exactly the opposite happens.”
Jessica listened to her sister and did not like the sound of her twin sister's
words and she hoped that she was dreaming. She felt a huge pit in her stomach.
Eventually, Evelyn made her words come true. She joined a group of girls who
were characterized by short skirts, boots, tight dresses and trousers. Sooner,
rather than later, Evelyn would be seen coming to their one-roomed house in a
drunken state at awkward hours.
Try as she did, Jessica could not get Evelyn to change. She got herself a job as a
domestic worker, but of course it was Evelyn who had the latest clothes,
phones and hairstyles while Jessica was reduced to being a house maid.

                                       21
Day after day, Jessica would tell Evelyn, “My dear Sister, remember Granny's
words and you will live long in this world, which seems to lie before us like a
land of dreams, so variegated, and so beautiful, so new, so wondrous, where
there is neither pain nor sorrow, and where whatever you want is available to
you.” Evelyn would hear these words and reply, “Take it easy, Jess, for real
life begins where sweet dreams end.”
With each passing day, Evelyn got worse. She drank and did drugs and would
occasionally not return home. She ignored the tiny voices of the fetuses whom
she denied the chance to see the light of day as she aborted pregnancy after
pregnancy.
Within a few years, fate, which seemed to be chasing after Evelyn, caught up
with her. That morning, panic was written all over her beautiful face as she sat
in the quiet Doctor's office. “Evelyn, there is something you need to know. You
are going to have a baby and I urge you to take on this test for the sake of the
baby.” She wondered what test it was, but she agreed to go ahead with it, for
she trusted the Doctor, who had been very helpful to her in life.
Evelyn was shocked when she heard the Counsellor tell her that the results of
the HIV test were positive. She could not believe it! HIV Positive! How was
she going to continue living? What was going to be her source of income?
How could a beautiful girl like her contract such a horrible disease? As far as
she was concerned, the disease was for those ugly, poor, neglected and
unsophisticated girls who sold their bodies cheaply, not for beautiful,
expensive girls like her.
She went home and cried night after night. She wanted the world to come to an
end, so that her misery would be forgotten. She stopped going out at night, and
just spent the day and night crying. She remembered the Bemba saying:
'Ekalisha ilyo anya'. Evelyn had learnt her lesson.
One day, she fainted and was rushed to the hospital. Evelyn lay still on the high
narrow hospital bed, as still as if she were dead. Evelyn, once vibrant and
lively, was frozen in pale unmoving silence. She hardly resembled the
vivacious girl she had been a few months previously.
Sitting by her bedside and looking at her sister's features, Jessica felt as if she
had been hit with a sledgehammer. Her sister's pitiful looks moved her to tears.
She herself did not present her usual picture of beauty as her face was marred
by a worried expression, eyes red from weeping, and a frown of misery which
seemed to have found a permanent place on her forehead.
Evelyn suddenly opened her eyes and saw her sister sitting by her bedside and
she was suddenly caught by remorse. She remembered the sweet grandmother
who told them the importance of using their beauty wisely. Had she used her
beauty wisely? The answer was a 'NO'. However, looking at her weeping
sister then, she decided that from that moment, she was going to live.


                                        22
Day after day, Jessica would tell Evelyn, “My dear Sister, remember Granny's
words and you will live long in this world, which seems to lie before us like a
land of dreams, so variegated, and so beautiful, so new, so wondrous, where
there is neither pain nor sorrow, and where whatever you want is available to
you.” Evelyn would hear these words and reply, “Take it easy, Jess, for real
life begins where sweet dreams end.”
With each passing day, Evelyn got worse. She drank and did drugs and would
occasionally not return home. She ignored the tiny voices of the fetuses whom
she denied the chance to see the light of day as she aborted pregnancy after
pregnancy.
Within a few years, fate, which seemed to be chasing after Evelyn, caught up
with her. That morning, panic was written all over her beautiful face as she sat
in the quiet Doctor's office. “Evelyn, there is something you need to know. You
are going to have a baby and I urge you to take on this test for the sake of the
baby.” She wondered what test it was, but she agreed to go ahead with it, for
she trusted the Doctor, who had been very helpful to her in life.
Evelyn was shocked when she heard the Counsellor tell her that the results of
the HIV test were positive. She could not believe it! HIV Positive! How was
she going to continue living? What was going to be her source of income? How
could a beautiful girl like her contract such a horrible disease? As far as she
was concerned, the disease was for those ugly, poor, neglected and
unsophisticated girls who sold their bodies cheaply, not for beautiful,
expensive girls like her.
She went home and cried night after night. She wanted the world to come to an
end, so that her misery would be forgotten. She stopped going out at night, and
just spent the day and night crying. She remembered the Bemba saying:
'Ekalisha ilyo anya'. Evelyn had learnt her lesson.
One day, she fainted and was rushed to the hospital. Evelyn lay still on the high
narrow hospital bed, as still as if she were dead. Evelyn, once vibrant and
lively, was frozen in pale unmoving silence. She hardly resembled the
vivacious girl she had been a few months previously.
Sitting by her bedside and looking at her sister's features, Jessica felt as if she
had been hit with a sledgehammer. Her sister's pitiful looks moved her to tears.
She herself did not present her usual picture of beauty as her face was marred
by a worried expression, eyes red from weeping, and a frown of misery which
seemed to have found a permanent place on her forehead.
Evelyn suddenly opened her eyes and saw her sister sitting by her bedside and
she was suddenly caught by remorse. She remembered the sweet grandmother
who told them the importance of using their beauty wisely. Had she used her
beauty wisely? The answer was a 'NO'. However, looking at her weeping
sister then, she decided that from that moment, she was going to live.


                                       23
                      OH! MY LIFE
                 MUBANGA PATIENCE CHIBWE
           ROAN ANTELOPE HIGH SCHOOL, LUANSHYA

Watching the world go by brings tears to my eyes and all I keep feeling is hurt
and pain overwhelming my life. I keep wondering what makes the world go
round and would the answer spare my life? it leaves a question in my mind if I
will ever make it through the days of my life.
I am 21 years old and living with HIV/AIDS. It is such a heavy burden to carry
all the way to my grave, after dueling in a world of fantasies. I always thought
life an anonymous creature because I lived life to the fullest. I realized it all, the
moment I wasted it and introduced myself to this creature called life.
Two years ago, as though it was yesterday, I should be the girl of the
millennium in the township where I lived simply because I had everything a
girl like me would desire. I dated each and every man I set eyes upon. I
attended each and every dance party I ever heard of, not realizing the
opportunity of living comes only once in a lifetime.
Unfortunately I met this stunning, young rich man at a certain party. He had all
the qualities of the man of my dreams and I couldn't resist him. He bought me
expensive presents and often took me out to expensive places for pleasure and
for fun. As time went by, I got so lost in the name of love. I started growing
weaker but I didn't notice because I was blinded by his love and his money. I
couldn't even notice that my body was depreciating like a fixed asset. It all
started like a dream and turned into a nightmare.
Two months later, different diseases started piling up in my body one after the
other like electricity bills waiting to be cleared up. I was ignorant and full of
life, so I ignored all the signs and carried on with the life I had. I chose fate to
rule my precious life.
As days and months went by, the matter of my illness became worse. Each day
I woke up and looked in the mirror, I saw a stranger living in me, feeding on my
flesh but I couldn't tell who it was. Since I had enough money, I got all the best
medicines that were prescribed for any illness that attacked my body. This time
my ignorance really cost me what I demanded out of it.
Sunday, 5th June was the day I thought the world had forsaken me forever. I
never thought the world could seem so unfair at a certain point in life. Now
reality had just revealed itself to my face.
The day was very quiet and cold. Everyone in the neighbourhood had gone to
church and I decided to stay indoors and keep warm because I had a high fever.
Sitting in a very comfortable home, reliving all the good times I had, I was
enjoying the luxurious air of my living room and silence prevailed.

                                         24
 To make the room warmer, I turned on the radio and there was a programme
discussing HIV/AIDS prevention, STIs, Voluntary Counselling and Testing
and other Opportunistic Infections. After listening to it all, suddenly my eyes
began to shed tears and for a moment I sat to think if the world had ever been
fair. It crossed my mind and I couldn't come to a final decision. I tried skipping
the VCT part and forget it all.
Trying so hard to forget, I couldn't think of anything else. I made up my mind
because I had no better option for I wanted to know the stranger who was
feeding on my flesh every day.
Monday morning, I prepared myself and went for VCT at the nearest centre
with high hopes and dreams all waiting patiently to be shattered. I got tested.
Before the doctor could bring the results, I was left with the Counsellor in the
VCT room. He counseled me, encouraged me to be strong and ready for the
challenges in life, especially if the results turned out to be what I did not
expect.
All in vain were my hopes of being told otherwise as the doctor brought the
envelope and said to me as he gave me, “God bless you, young lady.” I had no
time to analyse why he had said that. I took the envelope and opened it
anxiously to know what the results were.
As I opened it I saw my life passing way right in front of my eyes. I couldn't
contain myself knowing I had HIV and I was going to die very young without
being given time to make my hopes and dreams come true.
Knowing that I had HIV/AIDS made me realize the life I had wasted all long. I
cried, 'Oh my life,” till I could cry no more and fell asleep. Looking in the
mirror all I saw was a wasted corpse and a shadow fighting for life. I weep and
cry day and night hoping to wake up and find my real healthy self again. I cry to
the last echo of my voice for God to pour out a miracle and cure this terrible
disease which is eating up my body little by little like a torn shirt.
My own life has abandoned me. Happiness has deserted me and another
millennium has hit me. I have tried all the best western drugs that money can
buy. I have gone to the best traditional healers there have ever been and tried
their herbal medicines but to no avail. I believe that AIDS has no cure, but I
leave everything in the hands of the Almighty, who is the greatest healer of
them all.
I want to live and jump like a child who has never walked before. I want to see
where my destiny lies. I want to see it all. My life has not ended yet. I won't
give up easily but continue fighting HIV/AIDS until the last fibre of my being
dies for I want to live and see the generations to come.




                                       25
          I CAN LIVE LONGER
                      PAULINE MWILA
               CHIMWEMWE HIGH SCHOOL KITWE

Each day as the sun rises
I ask myself why
Why do good people die of AIDS
I had two decent parents
Yet they died.

Now I am left to face the world on my own
A day can barely pass without tears dropping from my eyes
A day cannot end without a smile on my face
Not only am I affected but I'm also infected.

My heart bleeds at the mention of this disease
I never knew that I would fall prey to this disease
The pain and loneliness I go through are too much to bear
Since birth I have been forced to take medication daily
Swallowing the tablets is always a nightmare
As I have always been encouraged, you will live longer.

Society on the other hand rejects me
Already they have known my secret
As the symptoms are too visible to hide
Many are the times I have moved around the streets
With my face downwards
Fearing what people might say next.

Deep inside my heart
I know that I want to move on
I know I'm not the first to move on
Neither am I the only one
I know I can live
I am but just one.




                                      26
27
   It begins with you and me
        TAMALI NALWAMBA , HELEN KAUNDA, KITWE

They say life is strange
A thing you can't see in range
Full of twists and turns
We go through it not knowing where one road leads

We find ourselves in a dilemma of living this life
Having to live in a world of joy and pain
With most of our efforts in vain
We shed tears for many nights
Because we have lost our basic rights
But through all this, I want to live

Death and poverty surround us.
We see our loved ones dying one by one
HIV/AIDS robs us of our hope
It is like a curse upon us
Our hearts are filled with fears
The kind that cannot be drowned by tears
But through all this I want to live

I may not have all the answers
But I do know that the future begins with me
Because I am the future, the future is me.
I will stand up and make the right decision
Moving with caution and precision…… towards an HIV free future
Because I want to live

For we are like beads on a string
No matter what colour
They are held together by one string
Let us be held by one dream
A dream that flows like a stream

Let us support each other and fight
Let the bond of hope among us be tight
As we stand together and boldly say, individually say......I WANT TO LIVE
It begins with you and me.

                                       28
           I could ask God to give
                        YVETTE CHELA
               HELEN KAUNDA HIGH SCHOOL, KITWE

Because of one night of sweet ecstasy
A few minutes of joy and I will live to regret
For the rest of my life
Whatever is left of it. How did I get here?
What can I do to get my life back together?
What? When? How? Why?

So many questions but I don't know if I have the answers
I don't know the whys and hows
But what I know is that I want to live
Just like everybody else I want to see my hair turn grey
To live to see my grandchildren

I know it's not a death sentence
But it's a life of hard labour all the same
All this pain because of one night of
Careless indulgence
I shudder to look back, but I can't look far ahead either
The future feels like a heavy weight that's hanging round my neck
If I could take it all back now, I would take a different path
If I could reach out and save a life, I would tell you to wait
Wait because the price you pay for not waiting is just too great

I look at pictures and memories of a forgotten past
And wish I had made it last
The happy, wholesome and healthy person in the pictures
And the one holding them are worlds apart
The emaciated person I am now is
But a far cry from this exuberant memory

I want to live
I want to experience all the joys that life has to give
I want to live. And a second chance is all I could ask God to give
I want to live
If only my transgressions the world could forgive
I want to live. If only then in miracles could I believe

                                       29
          I BELIEVE I CAN LIVE
                            DIANA MUTALE
                        KALULUSHI HIGH SCHOOL

What a state to be, What a price to pay
It's really doom, It's really gloom
It's worse than the worst dream
So don't stigmatise, but help me live

I want to live, I believe I can live
Face tomorrow without sorrow
I want to live
Without sadness but gladness in my heart
To walk through destiny with courage and a cheerful heart

I want to live
With a positive mind and attitude
I can't live up to people's expectations
Because there's so much to achieve and more to live for

I can't and I won't throw in the towel
Because it's like an image in a mirror
You are a horror and terror coming
The terror is real
But I will learn to fight
I don't always want to be a zero, Help me to become a hero

Brothers and sisters, love is what we need
'Love one another', said God our Father
Your love is relief to my grief
Your love is my shelter
Don't disgrace me
Embrace me with compassion and passion
It's your love that brings a smile to cheer my thoughts and lift my heart
And makes my life so worthwhile

Why do you break me down with your words?
And crush my hope to face each day?
I want to live
Am I a smelter or a shelter or a delta?
Whatever I am, help me to live because
I want to live.


                                          30
  I DO NOT WANT TO DIE
       MWAKA MALUTI, MASALA HIGH SCHOOL, NDOLA

Tabona and Melody were fraternal twins. Not only did they look different, they
also enjoyed different types of things.
Tabona was a tall, slim and quiet girl who was light in complexion. She had a
pretty smile and a tiny gap in her teeth. She enjoyed reading, writing and
drawing. She loved going to school and often talked about her dream of
becoming a lawyer when she graduated from University.
Melody was a slim talkative girl with a light complexion and slightly taller
than Tabona. She (Melody) enjoyed listening to music, dancing, watching
movies and writing. Melody often talked about her great desire to be a great
music composer. This strong desire hindered her from having a good
performance in class because she spent most of her lesson time writing music
lyrics, and her out-of-class time was spent performing at variety shows and
participating in talent shows. She was determined to become a great musician,
actress, and model.
Tabona and Melody's father was a very busy man. His name was Mr. Khumalo
but most of the people called him Mr. K. Mr. K was hardly found at home. His
business interests took him around the country and only on rare occasions did
he come home. Because of this, it was difficult for him to know what his
daughters had been doing, or indeed to lead them in the right direction. It was
unfortunate that their mother had died when they were still babies.
As time passed, Mr. K. became ill, and was admitted to hospital. From this time
on, he spent more time in hospital than anywhere else, and soon he passed
away, leaving the twins at the mercy of the relatives who grabbed all the goods,
leaving them with no one and nothing to support them. They had to stop going
to school.
Fortiunately for Tabona, she received a call from the school Headteacher
telling her that she had been offered a bursary at the school. She continued
with school and completed with good grades, though her dream of becoming a
lawyer could not materialize as she had no money to go to University.
However, a concerned Church group sponsored her to study Social Work. She
later got a job, and though she earned very little money, she was happy with the
life she was leading.
 Melody, on the other hand, did not go back to school, but scouted around for a
job. As time went by, she got a job as a Waitress and Lounge Singer at a bar
owned by a local tycoon. This man was a widower whose wife had died of
AIDS. While she was working at the bar, she started receiving expensive gifts
from her boss.

                                      31
He gave her jewellery, perfumes, expensive phones and many other things. As
days went by, he started asking for sex in return. She could not refuse because
she was vulnerable and thought that she owed it to him.
In no time, Melody and her boss were in a serious relationship, although
Tabona was against it. She urged her sister to go back to school, or at least to go
to acting school because she knew that her sister had always wanted to be an
actress. She also told her sister that her boss's wife had died of AIDS, but
Melody answered foolishly that AIDS was not real and told Tabona to find
herself a rich old man to look after her. Tabona replied that she could not date a
man because of money and also told her that she wanted to live and did not
want to die early.
As time went by, the rich man became sick and later died. Melody became
disturbed at first but she later got over it. She took her sister's advice and went
to acting school. She did her course for six months and graduated. While at
school, she met another rich man and started dating him. Tabona once again
warned her sister about what she was doing, reminding that both their father,
Mr. K, and her late tycoon boyfriend had died of AIDS but Melody was
adamant that they had both been bewitched because of their riches.
Days later, Melody auditioned for the Jesus movie and was successful and
took the role of the Virgin Mary. Unfortunately she discovered that she was
pregnant and had to pull out. As the pregnancy progressed she started
becoming ill. She kept on getting worse until she was advised to take an HIV
test, after which she discovered that she was HIV Positive. She was very sad
and depressed. As time went on, she gave up her desire to live and sought
death.
On her deathbed, she told her sister, “I want to live. I don't want to die. I wish I
had taken your advice. But even as I die, your words will be in my heart. I want
to live.” Upon finishing talking, she died.
Today, Tabona is very much in the news as she is running a support group
which is dedicated to her sister called, 'I WANT TO LIVE'.




                                        32
           The Evil Side of Him
             MUSONDA KAOLE, FATIMA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL, NDOLA

This story is based on what I would call a true life story.
Before my parents died, I lived a comfortable and expensive life. I had
everything I wanted because I was the only child and was only 10 years old. I
had thick, lustrous hair and a very elegant smile. I primped myself every day.
Really I had a passion for fashion. We were rich and envied by everyone.
At school, I was known by everyone and admired, and of course, lots of people
envied me. I had the passion to become a medical doctor. Hence I worked hard
at alcohol. My grades were extremely high and I enjoyed my time in school.
One Friday, after school, my Dad picked up from school in his shiny new
luxury car. Before going home, Dad always bought me a medium sized pizza
and ice cream. I was used to being treated like a starlet, and truly I was one.
When we got home, we found mother seated in the garden. I ran up to her and
gave her a hug. I went up to my room and changed into skinny jeans, a dress
top, and fancy slippers. I did my homework and joined           Mum in the kitchen
where she was preparing supper. I made myself useful by assisting her.
As we were preparing the supper, I started telling her how much I really loved
and cared for her. I said all this, not knowing that this was the last time we were
going to have a classic talk. When the meal was ready, Dad and I set the table.
Before the meal started, I said the prayer. We ate the delicious food. Mum
served custard and ice cream as dessert. We had lots of fun while eating. Only
God knew that this was our 'Last Supper' together.
Just as we were clearing up, Dad received a phone call. He excused himself
before picking up the call. It was Aunt Jane. When greeting her, his voice was
filled with enthusiasm, then his voice became serious and sorrowful. My
grandpa had passed on.
He cut the line and turned round to inform us of the sad and disturbing news.
My mum burst into tears. Her dad had passed on. It was really a sad moment.
Without wasting much time, Dad started making funeral arrangements. They
were going to leave for the village early the following morning. That day, we
went to bed early and didn't have any quality time. I felt really bad and
emotional. Before Dad tucked me in, we said the Lord's Prayer.
Early the following morning, Mum and Dad were preparing breakfast when I
got up. I said good morning to them and Dad lifted me up. This made me feel
much better and extra special after the previous day's incident.
Every time I looked at Mum, I felt bad. Mum told me that I would be staying
home with my aunt, Lizzie. I liked her very much and felt comfortable in her
hands. After all, she was good company.


                                       33
When we had had breakfast, Mum and Dad prepared themselves for the village
trip. They were going to use Dad's 4 x 4 vehicle. I cried bitterly as I waved them
goodbye. All this time, Aunt Lizzie comforted me.
My parents were due back after three days, but to me, these days seemed like
an eternity. In the meantime, we had lots of fun with Aunt Lizzie. She took me
to school and picked me up in good time.
The day my parents were due to arrive was a public holiday and I was really
excited because it meant no school. I prepared various dishes, not forgetting
Mum's favourite food, Salami.
The day went on, and my parents were not to be seen. Soon it got dark and still
nothing. 21:00 hours and still they were not to be seen.
I went to bed and prayed before sleeping. Early the following day, I woke up
early hoping to find Mum and Dad in the living room, or in their room as usual.
I only found Aunt Lizzie who was sobbing. I was touched and concerned and
asked her what was happening. She said that my parents died in a road accident
on their way back. On hearing this news, I fell unconscious, and went into a
coma. I was rushed to the hospital where I spent two days.
When I got back home, I found Dad's relatives fighting for our property. They
got all the furniture and threw me out of the house. I couldn't say anything
because I was too young.
My Dad's best friend and his wife took me in. I moved in with them. They
treated me like an only child. I felt at home because they didn't have any child. I
settled down and took them to be my parents. Eventually, I started calling them
'Mum' and 'Dad'.
After I had lived with them for a year, my 'Dad' started showing me what I will
call as his 'evil' side. He threatened to kill me. The reason for this is something
that I will never know. One fateful day, in the middle of the night, he came into
my room. I freaked out the moment I saw him. He covered my mouth and
warned me not to scream because he was going to kill me with the knife he had
in his hands. I tried to do everything I could, but he managed to take off my
undergarments and rape me. I cried the whole night. He took away my
virginity. He was such a shameless man.
Early the following day, I did my best to pretend that nothing was amiss. I did
the usual things of making my bed and getting ready for school , but I was sure
my mom saw the look on my face that spoke that not everything was the same. I
felt like a big fool to hide such a serious thing. By this time, my so called 'dad'
had gone to work.
Around 19:00 hours, I was seated with my mum in the sitting room when the
evil man entered. Immediately I saw him, I freaked out and ran outside through
the kitchen door. My mum couldn't help noticing that something was wrong.
She came outside and found me sitting on the doorstep. She asked me what was
wrong, but not a single word came from my mouth.

                                       34
               A Desparate Plea
             MUBANGA MULENGA, KALULUSHI HIGH SCHOOL

Anabelle Lwiti is a 16 year old girl whose beauty and grace is admired by all
who know her. Her parents are the envy of all the neighbourhood parents.
They think the Lwitis are lucky to have such a responsible girl for a daughter.
Anabelle is in her final grade of high school. She has already decided that she
will be a medical doctor. But today will change her life forever and shatter her
dreams.
Anabelle is a day scholar at an all girls school. This day, she decides to stay
behind after lessons to catch up on her studies. She is so busy concentrating on
her studying she loses track of time. When she finally checks her watch, it is
already 18:27 hours. She panics and quickly gathers her belongings and sets
off for home.
Anabelle is worried. How is she going to explain her late-coming to her
parents? She is so engrossed in her thoughts that she doesn't notice the four
dark figures until she is completely surrounded. She can smell the alcohol on
their breath and stories of people being attacked in this area flood her mind.
She tries to run but one of them hits the back of her neck. She falls down. She
opens her eyes hazily and sees them towering over her. One of them bends
over her and she makes out what looks like a syringe in his hand. She tries to
stand but he pins her down. She feels the syringe pierce her skin and the next
thing she knows is that she is losing consciousness.
Anabelle is lying in a hospital bed. Her parents are standing by the bedside
with worried looks on their face.
“Where am I?” she whispers. “You are in hospital, my dear. You have been
unconscious for over a week now,” her mother replies.
Anabelle could not remember anything and then memories flood back into her
mind. The four figures… the syringe… and then….nothing. The doctor runs
some tests on her and says the results will be known in a few weeks.
The Lwitis are overjoyed to see to see their daughter awake but alas, their joy
is short-lived. The results
Anabelle is HIV Positive and traces of cocaine are found in her blood. The
parents are shocked.
As a result, Anabelle is thrown out and disowned by her parents. She is
heartbroken and she has nowhere to go. Wherever she goes, her relatives turn
her away, so she moves into an uncompleted building.
Even though she is all alone, Anabelle is determined to continue living. She
sells all her expensive possessions and starts a garden so she can make a
vegetable stand.


                                     35
Every day is a struggle for survival. As an HIV Positive person, she needs a
healthy, balanced diet, but the garden's vegetables will not suffice. She grows
thinner by the day. Her CD4 count falls dangerously low. Her attempts at
making friends are met with ridicule and humiliation. And then she is struck
by malaria. Since she has no one to take her to the hospital, she lies in her
makeshift bed, day after day, as she is ravaged by the disease. She lies there for
weeks, till her heart beats no more.
Weeks pass and people living nearby note the putrid stench coming from the
uncompleted building. They send someone to investigate. They are horrified
to find Anabelle's already decomposing body. Some good Samaritans take
away her body and bury it. It is noticed that she has scratched on the wall, the
words: 'I WANT TO LIVE'.
The people's hearts sink as they know fully well that Anabelle's death is
partially their fault. If only they had not neglected her, maybe she would have
been alive and with them now. And so the tombstone on her grave is engraved
with the words:
HERE LIES ANABELLE LWITI, WHOSE DESPERATE PLEA TO LIVE
SHALL REMAIN FOREVER WITH US .
END…




                                       36
           LIFE WITH OR WITHOUT
             LENNAR MUKUKA, MUKUBA HIGH SCHOOL, KITWE

Life can be complicated, but it can also be simple to some people. My life has
been difficult and confusing. I am a teenager living wth HIV/AIDS and this is
my story.
Rushing to the bus station in the early evening, I was hit by a cruising vehicle.
Thanks to the Almighty, I survived, but later developed the circumstances I
have to live with. I was taken to the hospital emergency room. I had lost a lot of
blood, so the doctors had to do a blood transfusion and my parents agreed. I
woke up the next day feeling dizzy and confused. The doctors discharged me
after a week and my parents took me home.
After a few weeks, I returned to my normal daily activities. Two months after
the incident, I started feeling weak and strange. I couldn't understand what was
happening to me. One day, I decided to visit the same hospital where I had been
admitted, to have a test for HIV but I was told to go to a VCT centre.
I got to the centre and the test was done, and it turned out to be positive! I didn't
agree with it because that wasn't what I expected and I insisted on doing
another one. The second one also turned out to be positive. I was very
disappointed because I thought that there had been a mistake with the first one.
At that moment, I believed that my life was over. I was scared and confused
and started crying. I didn't know what could have made me be HIV Positive,
and that was the most painful part.
As I walked home, I was thinking about all the things I had done to protect
myself throughout my teen years. In the early years of high school, I had had
problems with peer pressure, but as time passed, I learned how to handle it,
pretty well. Most of my classmates tried to force me into doing the wrong
things but I stood firm. The majority of them already had sex before the tenth
grade, but I kept it cool because my parents taught me well. I knew that sex
before marriage was wrong. We had educational health presentations from
various institutions including the universities and Non-Governmental
Organizations. They taught about the spread and nature of HIV and STIs. I
listened to the information attentively because I wanted to protect myself.
When one of my classmates got infected with an STI, I visited him in hospital
and he begged me to keep on abstaining from sex. I did abstain because I knew
that it was the best choice.
So how did I get infected? I was told that on the day I was admitted to hospital,
the nurses on duty in the hospital, mixed up the needles and they re-used those
that had been used with HIV infected persons. These were used during my
transfusion, and that is how I got infected.

                                        37
 Telling them about my HIV status was not easy, but when I did so, they
understood what I was going through. The three of us vowed that we would
stick by each other and fight through this whole thing.
It took a long time for my close friends and relatives to know about my status. I
asked my parents not to tell anyone about me because I wanted to do it myself.
I met Jacque my closest friend on my way back from town. He was stung by the
news that at first he thought it was an April Fool's joke, for the day when I told
him was the 1st of April. But when he saw that I was dead serious, he stood
there, speechless and his eyes filled with tears. However, he too, took things in
his stride and he stood by me.
Despite my closest friends and family standing with me, I have experienced a
lot of discrimination from other people in society. Very few people know about
the virus and how it spreads. What comes out of their mouths is beyond hurtful.
They show no remorse for what they say. I however, learned to ignore their bad
words and concentrate on the good things that I had in life. My dad also
encouraged me, saying, “Son, never mind these pretenders. Concentrate on
your health and never lose your faith in God.”
I prayed to God for guidance. One day, an uncle of mine came to visit me. As he
was about to leave, he said to me, “Just because you have a virus doesn't mean
you're different from anybody else. People are just people. They will talk
whether you are sick or healthy. So it is up to you to decide whether you will
live in their shadows or you'll stand up for yourself and live your life.”
This was my final realization that life will always be life, whether infected or
not. From there onwards, I have told myself that life with or without a virus is
still life. I'm going to pull through because I want to live.




                                       38
      PAULA PETERSEN'S STORY
                       NKELVIN KOLALA,
                   MASALA HIGH SCHOOL, NDOLA

This is the story of Paula Peterson who lives with HIV/AIDS even as we speak.
When she first learned she had full-blown AIDS, she felt like her future had
been cut off. That was nine or ten months ago. Time now was broken into
'Before the Diagnosis' and 'After the Diagnosis'. Every day was really weighty.
Rather than months, she felt as if she only had days to live. She felt like every
hour, every minute and every second was counted for. It's not that she felt she
didn't have a future, but just that her future was uncertain. But after some time,
she could no longer wake up at night and think that she was going to die.
However, she had lived on this earth for a long time before she was diagnosed
with AIDS. She had had the signs but had ignored them. For example, when
she gave birth to her baby, she was run down and tired, but then, well, all new
mothers are supposed to be tired. Then she got sick with sinusitis. She had a
very high fever and also had night sweats. The doctor gave her antibiotics, but
then she just didn't get any better.
Then she developed a nasty ear infection. And she had an awful cough. She lost
weight and at that point, she began to think that there was something wrong
somewhere. She kept on going back and forth to doctors, nurses and other
medical practitioners at all major hospitals. The doctors did various blood
tests, but nothing showed up. They did various other tests, but again nothing
showed up. At this time, they did not think of doing and HIV test.
One day, one doctor asked, “Do you think you are depressed?”
“I definitely am because I have been sick for so long.”
“Why don't you take an HIV test? You don't seem to have anything that is
wrong with you, so this leads me to think that you have AIDS. So why don't
you take the test so we can rule it out completely?”
She kept quiet for some time after this. She really didn't think that AIDS was a
possibility, but she was still frightened of the test. She had an appointment with
her doctor two weeks after the test. Before the two weeks were up, she
constantly called his office to find out about the test results, but she was always
told that they were not ready and that she should wait.
On the day of her scheduled appointment, she was early at the hospital and she
came face to face with the doctor. He went out of the room and came back and
then said, “I have some really harsh news for you…” and that is how she found
out that she was HIV Positive. She cried very much because she wanted to live
and not to leave her family behind. Her husband and son were also tested. She
was very worried about her son because she had been breast-feeding him.


                                       39
It was a miracle that the results for both her son and her husband turned out to
be negative. How she got infected remained a mystery to her. She tried to think
of all possibilities, but in the end decided that the most important thing was to
think of the future, and not the past.
When she was first diagnosed, she was a basket case. She really didn't know
how she pulled herself out of it. “I think it was taking care of my son that really
helped me,” she said. She realized she had to be a mother to him again and that
is one thing that helped her get off the couch. Her physical strength returned
and she was doing well on the medications that were given to her. She was put
on protease inhibitors and she did well on them.
Right now she feels like her old self and she thinks she has some inner strength.
She hasn't ever gone through such a thing in life, but she hasn't fallen apart. She
always says, “I want to live and grow old, then see my grandchildren one day.
She loves to read and write. She has been going to a therapist once a week, and
this has helped.
Her family – husband, parents, brothers, sisters and others – have been
wonderful. They were supportive from the beginning, though at first they were
in a state of shock. Paula says, “That was the hardest part. The first few weeks.”
Later, everyone got used to her new status and things came to normal.
She is right now making plans for the future. When she first got sick, she had
given up all plans and dreams for herself and for the family, including her son.
She plans on teaching him how to read and to write and to love books. Together
with her husband, they are planning on buying a house. These are just normal,
everyday plans.
Every morning when she wakes up, she tells her son that he is the one that puts
a smile on her face and she couldn't have survived without him. She believes
that happiness is one of the things that is keeping her going and that is the
reason she wakes up in the morning.




                                        40
         VCT, THE ONLY SOLUTION
                           DAVID M. MUSA
                ROAN ANTELOPE HIGH SCHOOL, LUANSHYA

“Doctor, what is the meaning of giving me Panadols each time I come here?
I've been telling you that I have been coughing for over two weeks and a rash is
all over my body and I don't know what should be done,” said Miss Pelija.
“Well, Miss Pelija, I thought that the last time I prescribed the best medicine
which was going to heal you in less than three days, but it didn't work, therefore
I have no option but to give you Panadols,” said the Doctor.
“Doctor, I'm at the University of Zambia, studying law in my final year and we
have started writing assessment tests and I've missed out on two of them so far
because of a cold and rash. Please, if there's anything I need to know about my
sickness, I plead, let me know,” said Miss Pelaja.
“Miss Pelaja, are you strong enough?” the Doctor asked, lowering his gentle
voice.
“I am, Doctor,” Pelaja answered.
“What we do at our hospital is this. When we give medicine to the patients and
they do not respond well, we refer them to a VCT room where they are
counseled and then tested for antibodies. Hence, if you are willing, I may take
you there,” said the Doctor.
“Doctor, I'm willing since it's for my own good,” said Miss Pelaja.
They both proceeded to the VCT room. They found the Counsellor who
introduced herself as Miss Belinda Johnson.
Before they did the test, the Counsellor talked at length to Miss Pelaja and
when she thought that she was ready the test was taken.
While waiting for the results, Miss Pelaja had many thoughts that went through
her mind like what her friends and her fiancé would think of her if she turned
out to be positive. Would she be accepted or rejected? How would she cope
with isolation and loneliness?
“Here are your results, Miss Pelaja,” the Counsellor said as she handed over
the results.
“Oops, I can't believe this. Hey Christ, I'm positive,” screamed Miss Pelaja.
“Counsillor please preserve my life. I want to live. This is a death sentence,”
cried Miss Pelaja.
“Don't cry, Miss Pelaja. This isn't a death sentence and remember you
promised to be strong and to rely on my guidance,” the Counsellor said. The
calm manner in which the Counsellor spoke soothed Miss Pelaja.
and we are going to get married.”




                                       41
“Thank you Counsellor and I will come for my therapy on Saturday as it has
been programmed since my CD4 is below 300,” she replied in a trembling
voice.
She went home exhausted and found her friend Mildred waiting for her by the
gate.
“Hey, Pelaja, how has been your day?”
“Fine,” replied Pelaja.
As they entered the house, she started narrating the events of the day.
“Mildred, my life has been turned upside down. I'll never have kids, my family
will reject me. I don't know about you and my fiancé David. Please help me to
have the best explanation for my Darling David and my family,” cried Miss
Pelaja.
“I won't know how to help you if you keep on crying, Pelaja. I'm your best
friend, remember? Put me in a clear state,” Mildred pleaded.
“Wow… I have been found to be HIV Positive,” said Miss Pelaja.
“What? Come on. So why are you crying like a kid?” Miss Pelaja was surprised
by this response. “You are still full of life and you can still live a perfect life. I
promise to remain your friend for life, and about David, don't worry because he
is also positive and he has been looking for a way of telling you so he sent me
to come and tell you that he is positive and he is begging that you should not
reject him.”
Miss Pelaja was surprised by this. “I can't believe what you are telling me. Is
this the truth?'
“Oh yes, my dear. Just wait a minute.” She then called out. “David, come out of
your hiding place. Your worries are all sorted out.”
David came out and stood beside Mildred.
“You guys came together, so you heard our discussion?” asked Miss Pelaja.
“Oh yes,” replied David. “I love you Pelaja, positive or negative, you are mine
and we are going to get married.”
“Thank you, David, Mildred. You guys, I owe you a lot.
A month later, David and Pelija went back to the hospital together and were
given therapy.
They both graduated from the university and they got married and had two
lovely children. But the most important thing is that they stayed faithful to each
other.




                                         42
    RISE GIRL CHILD, YOU CAN LIVE
                                 MARY MVULA
                       KALULUSHI HIGH SCHOOL, KALULUSHI

Girl Child, you shine like a star at night
Rise and fight for your life
And know that you are the master of your senses
Knowyourself as a girl and what you are aiming for in life
HIV/AIDS has come for us
Abstain and live your life in harmony with the morals

If you think AIDS is for others
Then you are at risk because the HIV is real
If you are not infected then you are affected.
I suggest we start a campaign to educate the girl child in Zambia

For AIDS moves slowly like a snake, it is incurable
Faithfulness is the only cure
You can live with the virus.
Stop stigmatization, child labour and rape cases

Arise girl child you have to live
Fight for your life for you are the future
Leader of tomorrow, you can live, oh yes
You can live

This disease has claimed many lives
Keep your virginity and wait for the right time
The Bible declares that there's time for everything
But this disease has no specified time to strike
Regardless of who you are in society

Don't you feel pain seeing a large number of children in the streets every day?
It is because of this very disease
Rise up and cry for your life
Girl Child, listen and stand on you ground so you remain firm
You so special and incredible.
Have confidence and courage in yourself
Be determined to live despite the killer disease
Have the will to live and excel in life
You can do this by abstaining

Cry and fight for your life, for life is precious
Bow on your knees to live your life
Evaluate your weakness and fight this incurable disease
Because you are fearfully and wonderfully made
In the image of God
Stand your ground while this disease is ruling in your life
Rise up and say:
I WANT TO LIVE

                                               43
44
       LIFE WITH OR WITHOUT A DISEASE
                 IS STILL LIFE
                 LENNAR MUKUKA, MUKUBA HIGH SCHOOL

Life can be complicated, but it can also be simple to some people. My life has
been difficult and confusing. I am a teenager living wth HIV/AIDS and this is
my story.
Rushing to the bus station in the early evening, I was hit by a cruising vehicle.
Thanks to the Almighty, I survived, but later developed the circumstances I
have to live with. I was taken to the hospital emergency room. I had lost a lot of
blood, so the doctors had to do a blood transfusion and my parents agreed. I
woke up the next day feeling dizzy and confused. The doctors discharged me
after a week and my parents took me home.
After a few weeks, I returned to my normal daily activities. Two months after
the incident, I started feeling weak and strange. I couldn't understand what was
happening to me. One day, I decided to visit the same hospital where I had been
admitted, to have a test for HIV but I was told to go to a VCT centre.
I got to the centre and the test was done, and it turned out to be positive! I didn't
agree with it because that wasn't what I expected and I insisted on doing
another one. The second one also turned out to be positive. I was very
disappointed because I thought that there had been a mistake with the first one.
At that moment, I believed that my life was over. I was scared and confused
and started crying.
I didn't know what could have made me be HIV Positive, and that was the most
painful part.
As I walked home, I was thinking about all the things I had done to protect
myself throughout my teen years. In the early years of high school, I had had
problems with peer pressure, but as time passed, I learned how to handle it,
pretty well. Most of my classmates tried to force me into doing the wrong
things but I stood firm. The majority of them already had sex before the tenth
grade, but I kept it cool because my parents taught me well. I knew that sex
before marriage was wrong. We had educational health presentations from
various institutions including the universities and Non-Governmental
Organizations. They taught about the spread and nature of HIV and STIs. I
listened to the information attentively because I wanted to protect myself.
When one of my classmates got infected with an STI, I visited him in hospital
and he begged me to keep on abstaining from sex. I did abstain because I knew
that it was the best choice.
So how did I get infected? I was told that on the day I was admitted to hospital,
the nurses on duty in the hospital, mixed up the needles and they re-used those
that had been used with HIV infected persons.

                                        45
These were used during my transfusion, and that is how I got infected.
My parents were very supportive after the accident. Telling them about my
HIV status was not easy, but when I did so, they understood what I was going
through. The three of us vowed that we would stick by each other and fight
through this whole thing.
It took a long time for my close friends and relatives to know about my status. I
asked my parents not to tell anyone about me because I wanted to do it myself. I
met Jacque my closest friend on my way back from town. He was stung by the
news that at first he thought it was an April Fool's joke, for the day when I told
him was the 1st of April. But when he saw that I was dead serious, he stood
there, speechless and his eyes filled with tears. However, he too, took things in
his stride and he stood by me.
Despite my closest friends and family standing with me, I have experienced a
lot of discrimination from other people in society. Very few people know about
the virus and how it spreads. What comes out of their mouths is beyond hurtful.
They show no remorse for what they say. I however, learned to ignore their bad
words and concentrate on the good things that I had in life. My dad also
encouraged me, saying, “Son, never mind these pretenders. Concentrate on
your health and never lose your faith in God.”
I prayed to God for guidance. One day, an uncle of mine came to visit me. As he
was about to leave, he said to me, “Just because you have a virus doesn't mean
you're different from anybody else. People are just people. They will talk
whether you are sick or healthy. So it is up to you to decide whether you will
live in their shadows or you'll stand up for yourself and live your life.”
This was my final realization that life will always be life, whether infected or
not. From there onwards, I have told myself that life with or without a virus is
still life. I'm going to pull through because I want to live.




                                       46
  WHAT AN INHERITANCE
                     CHIBUMBU SEAN KANEMA
                   LUANSHYA BOYS HIGH SCHOOL

A mother's throbbing heartbeat, Nurses running around and Doctors yelling
for help were the first things I heard as I was in my mother's womb. As I came
out of the womb, I cried and was held by the Doctor who said, “It's a baby boy'”
and with those words, my mother took a deep breath and relaxed, and that's
where it all began.
Growing up was a great endeavour and vital ingredient in my life. At the age of
six, I started my kindergarten lessons. As I grew in age, so did I in wisdom, and
so years passed and then I was in school gaining a lot of knowledge.
The day I will remember most is the 16th October. I got ready for school as
usual. As always my mother made me take my vitamin pills. Then I gave her a
kiss on the forehead, and we were ready to depart.
At school we learned many things that included Diseases, Viruses, and
Respiratory Disorders. The main thing we learned in some detail was the
HIV/AIDS virus. This included modes of transmission, methods of
prevention and adherence. Out teacher said that the only way one can get to
stay alive was by continually adhering to the medication of Anti-Retrovirals
(ARVs).
After school, my mother came to pick me up as she had routinely done. From
the way I greeted her, she sensed that all was not well. She asked, “Sean, why
are you giving me that strange look? Is anything wrong?”
At that moment I looked at her straight and asked a question which had been
with me for a long time. “Mum, is there something you are hiding from me?”
She did not answer immediately, but in a trembling voice said that we would
discuss that when we got home.
Upon arrival at home, I asked her where my father was because every time I
asked she said that he was away in a far place. “Son,” she said, “I think that you
are now grown up enough to hear the whole story without any crazy reactions.
My son, this is the truth and nothing but the truth.” With those words my heart
started racing as my adrenalin ran through my blood.
“Son, your father is dead. He died many years ago, months before you were
born and the main thing that killed him was pride, the pride not to take his
medication because he was suffering from HIV/AIDS.” She paused to take a
breath and then she continued, “Son, this is the same disease that you are
suffering from, only that you are not severely affected and that's the reason you
have to take those 'vitamin' pills every morning.” As my mother spoke tears
flowed from my eyes as water does from the Victoria Falls.

                                       47
As she spoke, my inner conscience gave me the strength to ask the question,
“Where and how did I get the disease?” She answered that she had given it to
me during childbirth, just as she had got it from my father due to his
unfaithfulness.
I thought and cried inside my heart saying: 'Why me? Why was I born? If my
birth meant inheriting AIDS, what an inheritance'! I prayed to God to
strengthen me. My mother, on seeing how quiet I had become gave me
courage by telling me that my chances of living to a ripe old age were high as
long as I continued to adhere to the medication.
After that moment of truth, I remained in a lost state for a week, but then got
back on track especially since now I knew the facts of my life.
My mother and I continued staying together and I was successful in my
studies. I completed by secondary education and proceeded to university
where I got a degree in law.
Just as they say that to every rise there is a fall, so it was with my life. Just when
I thought I had achieved everything, my mother passed away and I remained
alone and lonely. I cried to my Heavenly Father and asked him to spare my life
because I had wanted, I still want and will always want to live. I want to live
was my cry and it will always be my cry, as long as I live.




                                         48
               I WANT TO LIVE WELL
                          FAITH ZULU
               KANTANSHI HIGH SCHOOL, MUFULIRA

It pains me each time I think of how I gave into the selfish desires of my uncle just
because I needed to be in school. Something that started as a sexual act for me to
receive financial assistance when I passed to Grade 10, ended up making me a
second wife in my Aunt's home to my Uncle, her husband.
After my Grade 9 results came out, there was no one to pay for my school
requirements. This made me a very sad person. On the other hand, all my friends
received the best support from their parents. This became a constant reminder to
me of how terrible it was to be a double orphan.
While wondering where I was going to get money for school, I received an
invitation from my Aunt in town that I should come and stay with them. I was
glad to leave the village for town. I enjoyed my first few days in town, though I
was not going to school because they were still looking for money to send me to
school.
After being in town for a month, my Uncle told me to meet him at a certain lodge
to discuss matters to do with school. I was so anxious to be in school that I gladly
went to meet him without any suspicions. Strangely enough, the meeting was
held inside one of the rooms in the lodge, and the only furniture in the room was a
bed. There was not a chair, nor even a table in the room. We therefore sat on the
bed.
My Uncle produced One Million Kwacha cash and a bag full of new clothes
including underwear. I could not believe it, but quickly began admiring the new
clothes. He then told me to go into the bathroom and try out my underwear and
one nice dress. When I came out of the bathroom, my uncle welcomed with a lot
of praises. He told me that I was looking like an angel. Without realizing it, I
jumped into his arms and gave him a deep kiss. My uncle told me that he
expected me to be good to him in return, and that the clothes would be mine, and
also he would pay my school fees. Foolishly, I agreed, and the next thing, I found
myself in bed with him. I needed to be like other educated peers.
What started off as a good thing soon turned into a living hell because my uncle
made it a daily habit. I aborted and contracted mysterious diseases on several
occasions. Later on, in Grade 11, I made up my mind to say 'no' to my uncle. I
started a new life without emotional imprisonment. Unfortunately, by this time, I
had contracted HIV/AIDS and I have to live with it. But I must live and I want
others to live a better life by making correct decisions, not making decisions
from closed doors, the way I did.
As you read this story, please join me in fighting such uncles who are planting
numerous HIV/AIDS viruses into innocent children.
We must tell them that we want to live a life that will be productive in future.

                                        49
50
           LIFE OF AN ORPHAN
             TRACY YOWELA, FATIMA GIRLS, NDOLA

Your test results came yesterday, Miss Mabwo,” Dr. Sitali said as I sat down on
a chair across him.
“Yes,” I answered, looking him straight in the eyes. “And how are they?”
“I want you to stay calm,” he said quietly.
“Okay,” I said getting a little impatient.
“We ran all the tests and your CD4 count was positive.” He looked at me.
“Then you are HIV Positive.”
“I was hoping the first test was a mistake,” I said calmly but with
disappointment in my voice.
“The first test?” he asked. “What do you mean? Do you mind talking about it?”
“No, not at all,” I answered. “I will begin from the beginning.” He settled down
in his chair and I began to tell him the story of my life.
“I was five years old when it all began. My parents died in a road accident on
their way home from Lusaka. We were living in Chingola then. After my
parents died, I was taken in by my father's older brother, Uncle Justin. I was
happy he was the one who took me in because I liked him a lot. I was an only
child so I inherited everything my parents owned. I think that was the main
reason Uncle Justin took me in. He wanted all the wealth my father had. I
moved to Mufulira with him and his wife Aunty Eve and my two cousins
Joseph and Nancy. I was taken to Mopani Trust School where my cousins were
also going. I shared a room with Nancy and we did everything together.
One weekend when I was seven, I was left at home with my uncle. Aunty,
Nancy and Joseph had gone shopping. That Sunday I was down with flu. Uncle
Justin came into my room where I was sleeping. He started talking to me. After
some time, he started touching me everywhere. I tried to run but he held me
tight and forced himself on me. This happened on several occasions but I
couldn't tell my Aunt because she did not like me.
When I finally gained the courage and told my Aunt, she only shouted at me
and gave me a good beating. She said I was lying and she started treating me
differently. I was moved out of Nancy's room and taken to the laundry room. I
changed schools as well. I was taken from the Trust school to a Government
school. I did not question why because they told me that the money my parents
had left was spent. I did not understand then. I was in Grade Two when I
changed schools. My grades in class were good for the first two terms, but then
went down as the beatings and mistreatment continued at home.
I lived in agony for three years.


                                      51
I had to wake up at 04:00 hrs every morning to do the house chores. I swept the
surroundings and cleaned the inside of the house. I had to do this before 06:00
hrs because I had to start off for school then. Sometimes Nancy would want to
help me but my Aunt stopped her and said that I had to do the chores if I was to
continue living in that house. And so I suffered silently because if I
complained, I was beaten and sent to bed, hungry.
When I was ten, I fell sick and my Uncle and Aunt refused to take me to the
hospital, and locked me up in the Servant's Quarters. I didn't go to school for
two weeks. My teacher came and found me in the Servant's Quarters. I was
pale, cold and hungry. The teacher took me to the hospital and then called my
Uncle. They ran some tests and found that I was HIV Positive. This only
worsened my suffering.
My teacher, Mrs Chifulo paid the hospital bills and took me home. When she
left, my aunt, Evelyn, moved me back to the Servant's Quarters. She said I was
contaminating the house with AIDS. She gave me one meal a day, and this was
only occasionally. She gave me a thin chitenge material to cover myself with. I
lived in isolation for two weeks. During that period, I gave up on life and
prayed for death. But God's plans are not our plans. Mrs Chisulo came to see
how I was doing and found me in the Servants Quarters.
She took me to the hospital where I stayed for one week. I was given ARVs
and started recovering. In the first two days of my hospitalization, I did not
want to take the ARVs because I did not want to go on living. But Mrs Chifulo
helped me to understand that being HIV Positive does not mean that I should
quit living. She adopted me and took me back to school. I had to repeat Grade
Five but I did not care. At school, the teachers and pupils knew that I was HIV
Positive and discriminated against me. But I did not care. I stood firm and told
all about HIV/AIDS. As days went by, they stopped treating me badly.
When I was in High School, I formed the Anti-AIDS Club, and used my
experience to teach others. Although some still treated me like rubbish, I stood
firm and told myself that no matter what they said, I would live.
I graduated when I was 15 years old with 6 points, and that was in 2006. I live
healthy and teach people about HIV and AIDS. This is 2009 and I'm still alive
because I want to live. That is my life story.”
“Wow,” said Dr. Sitali when I finished. “You are a strong woman.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” I said, standing up to leave,” for everything.”
In my mind kept flashing the evil deed of the night before. Again my mum
asked me what was wrong, and this time, I found the words to explain what the
evil man had done to me.
In a flash, he was in front of us, and to my horror and surprise, he stomped his
feet near me and exclaimed, “Shut up, you little brat.”



                                      52
 Then he went on to say, “This silly imbecile came in the sitting room last night
while I was watching soccer and started romancing me.” I was dumbfounded,
and decided to run away without waiting for a reaction from my mum.
I became a vagabond. I lived in the street. Life was difficult, but I had no
choice. After a few weeks of staying on the streets, I decided to raise money to
go back to school. Something told me that the answer to all my problems lay in
going back to school. I was living in squalor and I dreaded it.
I decided to wash cars to raise the money for school, and I washed cars every
day, though I really hated this kind of work. One day as I was at my job, one of
my late mum's closest friends came to the place where I was busy washing
cars. She seemed to recognize me and she stopped and started asking me
questions, and through his found out whom I really was. She decided to take
me in as her own daughter. I accepted to go with her.
She sent me back to school, on one of those days I will always describe as my
'Lucky Day'. Life with my new mother was very nice and comfortable. With
thanks to Almighty God, I found out that I did not have any sexually
transmitted infections.
Right now as I write this story, I'm doing my last year of my Doctorate course at
the University of California. I'm also happily engaged to a man called Andreas
whom I met in my earlier days at the university. I thank my latest mother who
has worked hard to sponsor me. I now realize that God has set a time for
everything, 'a time to live and a time to die'. I understand why he took my
parents, and I know that despite everything, I have a bright future ahead of me.




                                      53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
62