Zenaba, 22, was raped by soliders who
captured her town, Mongo, five years
ago. She had been sleeping at home
when the soldiers arrived. They tied her
up and attacked her along with three
Zenaba, 22, was raped by soliders who captured her town, Mongo, five years ago. She had been sleeping at home when the soldiers arrived. They tied her up and attacked her along with three other women.
“After the combatants raped me, an aunt of mine brought me to the hospital for HIV screening. The doctor tested me and said I need to be tested three months later on. The second screening tested HIV-positive. I felt desperate because AIDS is incurable and I thought I would die at any minute,” said Zenaba.
Despite such trauma, hope has entered Zenaba’s life in the form of Hina (meaning “we are resurrected”), an association for people with HIV/AIDS. Funded by Caritas Chad (SECADEV), Hina provides a variety of services to people with HIV, such as food assistance and moral support and helps them become more self-reliant.
With Hina’s support, Zenaba has learned to take care of her own health and that of her husband. “We need to eat a good diet as this is important for people with HIV. If we can afford it, we try to eat meat, fruit and vegetables.”
Her daily life has now taken on a routine which offers security and helps her deal with her HIV status.
“As a Muslim, I begin my day with prayer. Then, as is the local custom, I go around to my neighbours to pass on regards before I prepare breakfast,” says Zenaba.
Usually, Zenaba would fetch water after breakfast. But this heavy and difficult job is now done by someone provided by Hina/Caritas Chad.
At 9am, Zenaba will go to the market to buy some things for lunch as she is very conscious that she has to eat well to stay healthy. After she’s prepared and eaten lunch, she sits and chats with her friends and neighbours under the trees.
The day passes uneventfully and at night Zenaba sleeps in the single room in her and her husband’s house. Their two children sleep at her mother’s home where there is more space.
Zenaba’s dream is to have more children. She has learned from Hina/Caritas Chad that with the right medication, her HIV status should not cause a problem if she decides to extend her family.
“I am a young woman and the two children I have are not enough,” she says.