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Ida Kaaronda: mourning Maureen.

When we meet in Windhoek in early August Ida Kaaronda is full of grief at the loss of her daughter Maureen, who had succumbed to Aids some weeks before. Two years ago Ida had already suffered the loss of her grandson, Maureen's child, to this disease.

I ask her if she thought that Aids would ever affect her family. "I'm one of those people who didn't think that my family would be an exception," she answers. "When I learnt that HIV is passed on through sexual intercourse, I felt that somehow it would eventually also affect my family, because it's a disease that anybody can get."

But still it was a big shock for Ida to discover that her grandchild had HIV. "Maureen left him with me shortly after giving birth, to go back and work in Walvis Bay. He became ill a few days later with fever and diarrhea, and the doctor eventually did a blood test. He told me to tell Maureen that her child was HIV positive." Ida collapsed with high blood pressure and was hospitalised for a short time at the Okakarara hospital, where she has worked as a cleaner for the past 18 years.

She called Maureen to come home, and explained what the doctor had told her. From her daughter's reaction she realised that Maureen must have already known or been expecting this bad news. She doesn't know whether Maureen had been tested during pregnancy and whether she knew that there were drugs like Nevirapine that could have prevented the transmission of HIV to her baby.

I ask Ida why she thinks Maureen went public about her HIV status. "I only found out about that after it was news on the radio. She told me that she did it to prevent infecting other people. She also believed that by going public she would be able to get support to fight this disease with drugs to prolong her life. After hearing that I felt that she had done the right thing."

And did it actually help Maureen? Ida shakes her head vehemently. She feels strongly that those who encouraged her daughter to go public cheated and exploited her, and never helped her in the end. "This has pained me very much. There were so many government leaders and other people in the packed hall when Maureen went public. While she was still well enough they sent her all over the place to speak -- not only in different parts of Namibia but even in Ethiopia and Europe. But once she got to the stage where she was in need of drugs or other support they were not there for her."

While in Europe Maureen developed a rash on her face and was given an ointment to heal it. She was also offered anti-retroviral drugs, but could not take them because she would have had to continue taking them back home, where they were inaccessible to her because of the high price.

This is why Ida wants to know who first decided that people living with Aids should go public, and for what purpose. "Who promised that people who go public will be helped? It must have been somebody from the Ministry?" she asks.

After returning from Europe Maureen's condition worsened, and she was hospitalised and placed on a drip in Walvis Bay but received no other medicine. Her mother came from Okakarara bringing cough medicine, a menthol chest rub, medicine to bring down the temperature, vitamins to build her immune system and something for the thrush in her mouth. With all this she managed to get Maureen back on her feet and took her back home to Okakarara. Maureen was fine for a month, but after that her health declined rapidly.

"My heartbreak and my anger are directed to the Multi-Purpose Centre in Walvis Bay where Maureen worked as an Aids counsellor and built up a support group. When she approached them for drugs they said there were too many people living with Aids and told her to contact Emma Tuahepa for advice." Emma is the first Namibian to have gone public with her HIV status in 1996.

Emma assisted Maureen to call for help on national television, and this resulted in some financial support, in particular from Waterberg Upper Primary School where Ida herself had been a pupil up to grade 8, and from Okakarara Primary School and Okakarara Secondary School. People at Okakarara hospital also pitched in. Ida emphasises that they are very grateful for this support, which was however not enough to provide for the expensive drugs that Maureen needed to prolong her life.

Maureen spent her last months in Okakarara. While Ida worked her twelve-hour shift at the hospital Maureen was cared for by her grandmother and her aunt, and during the night the three women shared the care giving. They received strong spiritual support from the Oruaano Church, and emotional support from Emma and another friend as well as from Nepeti Nicanor, who had met Maureen through her research for the Red Cross booklet 'Choose life'.

"Emma and Nepeti counselled us on how to deal with Maureen's negative emotions. Some days she just put a blanket over her head and did not want to speak or eat. They advised us to leave Maureen alone when she was in that state or when she got angry with us because of what she was going through. This helped her to ask for forgiveness and plead with us not to abandon her. To tell you the truth, caring for someone you love who is dying of Aids is a very difficult thing."

According to Ida her daughter got depressed and gave up the fight when she heard that a colleague had taken her job at the Walvis Bay Centre. "They couldn't even send her a card to show their concern while she was dying; they only came to her funeral. This really hurt us a lot."

Ida is also very disappointed with the government. She visited the newly constructed Heroes' Acre while in Windhoek and believes the money for this monument could have been better spent. "If they don't provide anti-retroviral drugs to all the young people now living with Aids, there won't be any leaders of tomorrow," she says bitterly.

She believes that not many people living with Aids will make their status public after seeing how little it helped Maureen. "Why should people go for an HIV test if nothing can be done for them when they test positive?"

We talk about the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in South Africa that has taken the South African government to court to force it to provide Nevirapine to pregnant women to help prevent mother-to child transmission of HIV. TAC is also lobbying hard for South Africa to find ways to provide Aids drugs cheaply for people living with Aids.

Ida feels that Namibians also have the right and have enough grounds to take our government to court "considering how they waste money while people are dying." But she wonders how many people will be willing to stand up for their rights. "A lot of people are saying that you are given condoms, and it's your own irresponsibility if you get infected with HIV."

"But do women have the power to use condoms?" I ask. "Can they force their boyfriends or husbands to abstain or be faithful or use condoms?" She shakes her head. "Men don't want to listen, they don't want to hear anything about the condom. And so many women also get raped in the street or at home, and get infected that way. What then?"

I ask Ida if there's anything she wants to add before we end the interview. She speaks again of her hurt, anger and disappointment with the people who were purporting to help Maureen, but actually only used her for their own purposes and let her feel that she was irrelevant long before she had died. "That has broken our hearts and we hope it won't happen again."

RELATED ARTICLE: Ida Kaaronda: mOruhoze rwaMaureen

omuworonganise: Liz Frank

omurundururire womOtjiherero: Angelika Tjoutuku

Momautiro waKatjose tji twa hakaena na Ida Kaaronda moukoto waTjomuise tjandje ngunda u ri moruhoze oruzeu ohunga nondiro yomusuko we Maureen, ngwa tire i omutjise wEhinga katjisupi nai. Ombara ombe tjandje ya tono monguru otja wina ngwa zire nokuzepaisa okazandona ke, komusuko we Maureen ku ka ta i omutjise mbo wina.

Ami tji mbe mu pura kutja hapo eye nao wa ri nomaundjiro wokutja omutjise wEhinga wina maau tunu kotjikutu ihi otje, eye wa zira ama tja: "Ami hi mba ri nouripura wokutja kotjikutu lii otjandje kamaau tunu ko. Tji mba zuva kutja omahwangero womutjise mbwi ye pitira moruvakiro, otjee tjiwa nawa kutja harukuru wina mau tunu ku imba ovotjikutu tjandje, tjinga owo au ri omutjise mbu mau yenene okuvera mu ngamwa omundu."

Nungwari tja ri otjina otjihanduze Ida tja zuva kutja okanatje komusuko we ke nOndwi yOmutjise wEhinga. "Maureen okanatje wa panduka uriri narire tje ke sa na ami, tjinga eye a sere okuyaruka tjimanga koviungura vye kOmbae. Kombunda ya nao ka ke wombere otji ka vera omupito mbwa ri nepyu morutu, nu onganga arire tji ya nana ombindu yako. Kombunda yanao onganga otji ya tja hi raere Maureen kutja okanatje ke nOndwi yEhinga." Ida ombuze ndji ye mu rondisa ombindu nai mu sononona nga tja kayakurwa motjipangero tjaKakarara, wina me ungura oure wozombura ku nai nda rire 18.

Eye wa isana Maureen okuya konganda ne mu tandere omaheya wonganga. Ongaro yomusuko we ye mu raisira kutja eye aa tjiwa poo aa undjire ko ombuze ombi yosaneno ndjo. Eye kaa tjiwa kutja Maureen ngahino momayuva woutumbapare we wa tarewa nokutja hapo nao eye wa ri nondjiviro yokutja ku nomuti oNevirapine mbwa tja u tjurura kutja okanatje ke ake ha munu omutjise mbo poo indee.

Ami mba pura Ida kutja eye ngahino ma tjiwa epu Maureen nde ri raisira poruhaera kutja eye u Ondwi yEhinga. "Ami otjina ho mbe ke tji zuva indu tji .tja ingana otjombuze moradia. Eye we ndji raera kutja ombu ri omuano umwe wokutjurura kutja eye a ha hwanga ovandu varwe. Wina eye wa ri nongamburiro yokutja tje ri raisa poruhaera ma munu oruvara rwokurwisa omahandjaukiro womutjise mbo ngunda motjitio tjingetjo ama vaterwa nomiti mbi mavi mu hupisa aayo orure. Tja za nokundjiraera nao ami wina otji mba yakura kutja eye wa tjiti otjina otjisemba."

Nu hapo otjina hi tja ri nombatero ndji ta pi ku Maureenn Eye wa taka otjiuru tie nomasa. Eye u nongamburiro yokutja imba mba poporora omuatje we kutja ma pite poruhaera ye mu wova nondando yokumuungurisa, orondu ihi katja ri nombatero ku ye kaparukaze. "Ihi tjiri otjihihamise ku ami. Eyuva Maureen nde ri raisa poruhaera, otjituwo ho tie urire ovandu potjinyo mokati kayo wina mu mwa ri ovanane vohoromende. Eye ngunda a ri nawa aave mu hindi kotuveze pekepeke okukahungira - moukoto waNamibia na komahi warwe tjimuna oEuthopia nga komahi waEuropa. Posi yokutja tje ya pondondo yokuhepa omiti nomahuhuminino ave kanulca."

Maureen tja ri koEuropa otja uta okupita otjimana momurungu na pewa omuti omupange omuhuwa. Ovo wina ye mu pa omiti omihande vyomahonaparero wondwi yomutjise, nungwari eye e he vi ungurisa tjinga aa tjiwa kutja tji we vi nu ko sokuporera neye tja kotoka konganda kamaa yenene okuviranda motjimbe tjoundiru wavyo.

Ku nao Ida otje nondero yokuvanga okutjiwa kutja hapo ovandu imba mbe tja ovandu mbe nOndwi yEhinga ngave riraise oowani nu ye nondando yatjike. "Oowani mbe yandja oruyano rwokutja ovandu mbe riraisa poruhaera mave vaterwan Ngahino omundu Kaani okuza koMinistiri?" eye wa pura.

Maureen tja za koEuropa otja uta okungundipara neye wa yakurwa motjipangero tjaMbae ma tuwa komakende womeva omayandjamasa porwawo nokuhina omiti vyarwe omipange. Ina wa ya okukemuvarura okuza kOkakarara ne mu twaerere omentola okurihwa motjari, omuti wokuwisa oupyu nozovitamine zokuyeura ovirwise vyomitjise pamwe nokamuti okapange komatito motjinyo. Oumuti mbwi ombwa kakongomokisa Maureen neye arire tje mu yarura konganda kOkakarara. Maureen wa ngara wa kongomoka Pu pe ta oure womueze umwe, kuzamba arire tja tja utu okundoma hakahana.

"Omuhihamwatima wandje me u hindi konganda yaMbae indji oMulti-Purpose Centre, Maureen ndjaa ungurire otja omuyandjandunge mEhinga, ngwe ye zikamisira otjimbumba otjiyandjaruvara. Eye tja ningira ombatero yomiti ku vo ye mu raera kutja ovandu mbe nOndwi yEhinga ovengi navi, naa nga karore okuningira ondunge ku Emma Tuahepa".

Emma ongu ri Omu-namibia omutenga ngwe ri raisa poruhaera kutja u nOndwi yEhinga mombura ndji o1996.

Emma wa kwambera ko Maureen kutja nga tjite omaningiriro kovaharupu ngu maye pitisiwa moTV yOtjiwana, nomapitisiro ngo onga kaetisa kutja a mune ombatero okuza koskole ndji oyaNgombombonde yOkombanda (yaHange) eye me rihonga nga kOndondo Oitjahambondatu (Grade 8) na yarwe okuza kozoskole inda oPrimere yaKakarara na indji oyOsekondere yaKakarara wina. Ovaungure vopotjiangero tjaKakarara wina va yandja ohambwarakana. Ida wa yandja ondoondoo kombatero ndji nandarire kutja oyo kaya ri nondengu okuyenena okuranda omiti vyondiru mbi atjavi reparisa omuinyo waMaureen.

Maureen omieze vye omisenina wa kara mOkakarara. Oure wozoiri omurongo nambari ngunda ma Ida a kaungura, Maureen aa hungwa i ooina omukurukaze na ina omuangu waina flu tja karira outuku ave yeurasana nao poutatu wavo. Ovo wina va pewa ohauzeu noruvara ndwa yenene okuza kOkerereka yOruuano, ku Emma Tuahepa nepanga re na ku Nepeti Nicanor ngu va tjiwasana na Maureen indu eye tjaa tjiti omano-ngononeno wokambo koRed Cross inga 'Toorora Omuinyo'.

"Emma na Nepeti ombaave tu pe ondunge kutja Maureen tji ma raisa aayo omuinyo wa toro ngatu mu tjinde vi, tjinga apa ri nomayuva tjiva eye ngaa nanene otjirare komurungu nokupanda okuhungira poo okurya. Ovo otji ye tu honga kutja eye tje ri mongaro ndjo atu mu kurungisa nandarire kutja eye wa pindike ku na ete, orondu avihe mavi tjitwa i ouzeu mbwe mu havera momuinyo.

Omuano mbwo wa etisa kutja Maureen a ningire ondjesiro ku ete nokriyarikana kutja atu he mu imbirahi. Okuhungira ouatjiri, tjiri ouzeu ounene okuhunga omundu ngu wa suvera nu ngu ma tu Omutjise wEhinga."

Otja ku Ida, omusuko we wa uta okurihahiza kombunda ya tja za nokuzuva kutja oruveze rwe poMulti-Purpose Centre yaMbae mwa yarurwa umwe wovaungure vapamwe na ye. "Ovo kave na pu va rora okuyekumutara poo okuhinda okakarata kokuraisa kutja ye nongendo. Otjina tji va tjita okuyekumupaka uriri. Otjina hi otjihihamise ku katjotjiri."

Ida wina wa hihamisiwa i ohoromende. Eye tja ri mOtjomuise wa kavarura Ombindi yOzombangane ne ripura kutja ovimariva mbya tirirwa mo hapo katja vi ungurisiwa momuano warwe. "Ovo ndoovazu kave yenene okuvatera omitanda mbi nOndwi yEhinga nomiti omihande vyomahandjaukiro womutjise mbo, kamaape kakara novanane vamuhuka," eye wa hungire nomuhihamwatima.

Eye u nongamburiro yokutja kombunda yongaro ndja kaenda pu Maureen omitanda omingi kamaavi munu ohepero yokuriraisa poruhaera kutja ovatjinde vOndwi yEhinga. "Ohepero yatjike ovandu okuritarisa Ehinga ndoovazu tji va munikwa Ondwi yEhinga kape nombatero yoharive ndji ye pewa?"

Wina twa hungira ohunga norutu ndwi oTreatment Action Campaign (TAC) rwaSouth Africa ndwa nanena ohoromende yaSouth Africa kotjombanguriro mokuninikiza yo kutja i yandje omuti mbwi oNevirapine kovakazendu ovatumba okutjurura kutja Ondwi yEhinga ai ha hwanga otjina tjopehuri. Orutu ndwi oTAC wina ru kondjisa okuyeta ohoromende yaSouthAfrica kourizemburuka wokupaha omiano mbi mavi tjiti kutja ovanandwi yEhinga ye mune omiti vyEhinga kombiriha.

Ida u nomamwino wokutja Ovanamibia wina ye nouyara nousemba okunanena ohoromende yavo kotjomba-nguriro "okuisira komuano mbu i nyona ovimariva ngunda ovandu amave koka." Posi yokutja ma keyakeya kutja ovandu mbu mave yenene okusekamena ousemba wavo ivengapi. "Ovandu ovengi ye tja mu pewa ozokondoma, okutja tji mwa hwangwa Ondwi Ehinga ondende yenu oveni nokuhina omerizirira."

"Hapo nu imba ovakazendu nai ye nomasa nouyara wokuungurisa ozokondoman" ami mba pura. "Mave yenene vi okuninikiza kutja ovazandu poo ovarumendu vavo ye rire ovatakame poo ye ungurise ozokondoma?" Eye wa taka otjiuru tje. "Ovarumendu kave puratene, nu kave vanga okutamuninwa okondoma. Ovakazendu wina ye uhara amave tjerwa pozonganda na motupanda nave hwangwa momuano mbo. Pe ri vi nao?"

Ngunda atu hiya mana mba ningira Ida kutja nani u nokana karwe okuweza ko. Eye wa raisa rukwao omuhihamwatima nomazenge nge na wo ku novandu mba poporora Maureen kehi yotjiwova tjombatero ku ye, ngunda ovo ava tya okumuungurisa kutja ye yenenisire po ozondando zavo oveni, opu va za okumuraisira kutja eye ka ri omunahepero nongaro ndji va tjita ngunda eye e hiya ta. "Otjina ho tji tu tetarisa omitima nu me zeri kutja kamaatji tjitwa rukwao."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:AIDS patient
Author:Tjoutuku, Angelika
Publication:Sister Namibia
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Previous Article:Dear readers.
Next Article:You will be pleased to know that Maureen Katjatako is dead.

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