This month, our LIA team in Ethiopia shares a touching story of one woman’s encounter with our church partner’s HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia. Enjoy!
“There is Hope”
Genet, a community health evangelist trained by LIA and its partner church, visits homes in Debre Birhan to care for sick families and to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, one of the most devastating, yet preventable diseases still wreaking havoc in African countries. Her strong passion to care for people suffering with HIV/AIDS is particularly captivating, as she too is living with the virus.
One particular day of home visits, Genet knocks at the home of Aberesh, a 35-year-old mother of two. It is immediately apparent that her meager income makes it a daily struggle to provide for her children. Despite her trials, Aberesh gives a graceful smile when she ushers Genet in and begins to inquiring about the reason for the visit. As Genet starts to explain, she notices Aberesh is expecting her third child, which could not be far from delivery.
Genet quickly learns of Aberesh’s desperate years since she found out she is HIV positive. Her diagnosis left her feeling hopeless and lost, especially since she discovered she was pregnant again and that there is a high risk of passing along the virus to her baby.
Gently and lovingly, Genet educates Aberesh on the realities of her situation. For the first time, Aberesh hears that there is hope for her baby. Mentored by Genet, Aberesh begins receiving antenatal care treatment to monitor her and the baby’s health before delivery, and to prevent transmission of the virus.
Through LIA’s church partner in the area, Aberesh begins to attend HIV education meetings, where she asserts that the knowledge she gained from the meetings helped clear up misconceptions about the disease, and helped her make educated decisions. As a result, Aberesh elected to deliver the baby in the Debre Birhan Hospital where they both could receive the care they needed.
“If I had not had this relevant information, I would have lost my baby,” she says. “I thank God above all for saving my baby and Genet for unreserved support to help the needy.”
Aberesh ends her story by proclaiming, “I am no more hopeless! I am not frightened! I can see that there is hope when it seems hopeless.”