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Meet Sarah, Diana, and Besta

September 17, 2014

Sarah Shenge, Diana Karafu, and Besta Mufuri describe how Project Tariro renewed their hope. Their stories are shared through interviews conducted in 2011 by Debbie Gara, Gregory Gross, and Carly Fiske, with the help of Shona-English translators Evelyn Mashonganyika and David Mandizvidza.

Sarah Shenge: “Room to be free”

“I am age 39 and infected with HIV. I have a husband, one girl, and two boys, ages 8 through 19. My oldest child is married.Sharon Shenge sm The reason I came to Project Tariro is because of what I saw from the first group of clients who came to this program for training. They are uplifting people. The Project gave them hope and assisted them, and gave them projects to do. Even though I live six to seven miles away from I do not mind walking the two hours to get here for classes.

“Socially, Project Tariro has enabled me to interact with others, people who live negatively and positively. I use to be afraid to leave the house because my neighbors were afraid of me. This program has given me knowledge of how to cope with stigma and how to use my hands to sustain my family and send them to school.

“Project Tariro has taught me horticultural skills and how to grow crops that I can sell to supermarkets in the city. They have taught me how to do beads and bags. They taught me to use my hands. Right now I can do my nursery properly. At the moment I have not grown crops for sale yet, but I am able to sell bags I have made.

“Project Tariro has also given me the room to be free. I can easily interact with my family and husband. I am looking forward to putting what I have learned into practice. I just wish to have a good life. I just wish to be somebody who can sustain myself. I also wish to buy a (sewing) machine to earn some money so if I or my family gets sick, we can go to the hospital.

“Generally my belief was that when you are HIV that was the end of the world. This has given me hope and being HIV positive is not the end of the world. I can easily share with my family my status and they can encourage me to be a better person and to be someone. I look forward to learning more skills and getting more information on how to sustain myself with the help of Project Tariro.”

Diana Karafu: “Staying alive for our children”

“I am age 47 and have six children. I was only 15 years old when I had my first baby. Now she is 32 years old. My youngest Diana Karafu smchildren are twin boys, 15 years old. My husband died of AIDS five years ago so I am raising my children alone. If I should die my children will become orphans, so I am trying to get them educated.

“Before I learned about Project Tariro I was someone just sitting at home doing nothing. I believed that my life had ended. But since Tariro I have been taught in so many areas, how to keep myself busy, generate income, use projects. My children look tome as a mother, they know I am working so they can chip in.

“I’ve learned in areas of sewing and horticulture but when I look at myself I can say I am mostly interested in sewing because I can do it as I am sitting. I look forward to doing projects for sewing and hope to buy my own machine. However, I do not have $90 to buy a sewing machine so I just sew by hand. With two kids in school I need to earn their tuition and book expenses.

“I pray I will find a way to stay healthy and to feed my family. I am so grateful to Project Tariro for teaching me about growing my food and preparing it. Also, I am grateful for all the support I find in being together with other women who are trying to stay alive for their children.”

Besta Mufuri: “It gave me hope”

“I am age 32 with a husband and three children: one girl and two boys ages five, eight, and eleven. I am a care-giver, as my Besta Mufuri sm crhusband has AIDS. When I heard about a new program called Project Tariro, it gave me hope that my husband can learn how to live with the disease. It is a two-hour walk from my home to the project, but I do not mind making this trip two or three times each week.

“I came to Project Tariro to be taught how to use my hands so I can sustain my family. I have learned beads, horticulture, and appliqué. At the moment I am using my horticulture skills to grow crops like onions and carrots to sustain myself at home. I am also learning how to protect myself from getting AIDS. Even though female contraceptives are not popular here, they do make it possible to prevent getting infected.

“I hope and pray that I can be able to get a machine (sewing) so I can make things and support my family.”

Rev. Debbie Gara is a United Methodist deacon who is minister of children and families at Laguna Niguel  (Calif.) Presbyterian Church. Rev. Gregory Gross is family ministries coordinator at Berry United Methodist Church and in-person counselor at AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. Carly Fiske is a writer in Garden Grove, Calif.

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