A tribute to my big brother-Moses Lugolole
When people talk aboout HIV/AIDS after 2010, it is sounds like it is just some kind of sickness where one just has to take a test, be sure of the status and then start taking medication consistently and that is all- you live a positive life-
But the HIV/AIDS I know is not the one of knowing your status and taking medication to live a positive life there after-
It is the HIV/AIDS that meant one person being assumed or proved to be Positive meant the entire family, neighbours friends clan…name it carrying an equal burden of the Cross of the disease through STIGMA…
My story with that painful HIV/AIDS AND STIGMA. ….
When I was in primary seven 13 years of age it was really a tough time.
My big brother RIP Moses who was around 23 years of age then..was linked to HIV/AIDS through a wild village rumour- for his relationship with a young widow whose husband had been rumoured to have died of AIDS
I suffered a lot of pain for the rumour but I never shared my pain with any one.
I hurt at the thought of mother RIP having a child infected with HIV/AIDS and how she takes sleepless nights hurting and not forgeting how she stands the so many scornful statements from the village people- Moses was the brightest,handsome, hard-working and respected boy of his time- the admiration of the village-I lived with that pain day and night
I had the deep pain of my other brothers and sisters imagining their big brother would die thin and painful- how they go through the village scorn- it was too much to imagine- but I never talked to any one about it-
I suffered the desparacy I used to imagine my father lived with for having a son, his biggest boy “infected” that was the common verb for such people at that time
NOW THE MOTHER OF OF MOTHER OF PAIN IS HERE
The thought of My big brother Moses knowing that he is dying any time, I would hurt at how he manages his days of direct and stealthy scorn from the village people.
I hurt at the imagination that he would never truly sleep well but dreaming about his Grave.
I hurt at the imagination that he was waiting for the time he would slowly go thin and lifeless because that was HIV/AIDS at that time-it was a lot of silent pain I lived with.
The Village people didn’t care about any those feelings-The Parents and young girls would openly have alerts against Moses lest they would bump into him and somehow may be Rape them!! At the village Water-Well, people would openely scorn at me or do it in loud whispers.
Moses had a son….when he put on weight- one of our neighbours told me ” the way your baby is growing fat is the way kids with HIV/AIDS get fat”- it was such a sharp pain i felt-
The baby boy was looked at with scorn by the villagers- one time he fell sick of malaria and one woman told me in the face ” you are wasting time, the boy is going to die in whichever way” Did some people even care that i was just a child to be told such!- the boy was I think one year by then’- He is still with us and negative.
Now the Mother of Pain came from my science teacher at school…
We had skit on HIV/AIDS that time in schools it was blended with late.
Philly LUTAYA ‘s song on HIV/AIDS fighting stigma-And i was playing the part of the Main wife who got AIDS after her husband went to the city and got into relationship with a city woman-that time looking so civilised was enough to be qualified to be candidate for the killer disease.
After the days rehearsal_we went back to class and my teacher told me Openely before other pupils “Nankwanga you’re already a candidate of HIV/AIDS since your big brother is dying of AIDS any time”- I felt a sharp pain in my already hurting heart- I wished I wasn’t born in my family to take such pain- every time I saw children laughing and playing- I envied them for I magined they didn’t have the pain I had – i couldn’t share the pain i was going through with My family because I knew they were already hurting.
My brother didn’t die until after 7 years- when he resigned to village scorn and turned alcoholic-I always imagine Moses wasn’t HIV/AIDS Positive but the village diagnosed him stigmatized him and killed him.
I didn’t hear of anyone at home saying he was tested and diagnosed positive -my mother was a medic and she used to treat him with first line Malaria treatment and he would respond immediately.
STIGMA KILLED PEOPLE MORE THAN HIV/AIDS its self
RIP my big Brother Moses Lugolole
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