Setrida's Story Photojournal of a grandmother in Zambia
"Two of my children have died and my husband died in 1999. Three of the children stay here, one helps in my grocery shop, and I look after a granddaughter. My two other sons live in the neighbouring houses. I have 29 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.”
"I’m managing ok because I sell things every day. I started my shop in 2004 with a loan from the home based care programme of 200,000 kwacha ($55). I have paid it back. Every morning at 6am I go to buy buns for my shop. I have to go early because lots of people want to buy buns at that time. If I manage to get some, many people buy from me for their breakfast."
"As well as the breakfast buns, I sell soap, oil, sugar, rice, mealie meal, candles, salt, biscuits, drinks and tea. We sell buns and sugar the most, they make the most money. We eat once or twice a day. Before I started the shop we were really suffering."
"This is Priscilla - the daughter of one of my sons who died. She is HIV positive and taking ARVs. She goes to school nearby. She’s much better now than she was. Before, she had terrible stomach ache and a swollen tummy. Now it’s gone down and her rash has gone."
"I feel bad about her illness but there’s nothing I can do. She’s accepted it and the only thing I can do is give her my love. I feel happy that now she can play and even help me with the work. Before I used to take Priscilla to the clinic but now she just writes down the date and goes on her own to collect her drugs."
"Each day I send Priscilla to get vegetables from the market for our lunch. Then she chops the vegetables when she gets back and I take the brazier near to the shop and cook the lunch there. Priscilla has to eat before she takes her ARVs, so they work effectively."
"With the home-based care programme I usually go with another volunteer called Veronica to visit patients. When we first started, often the families would not accept us, especially the sick people who felt shame about the disease and wouldn’t want others to know about it. Now they accept us because people understand more."
"We pray with them. Sometimes we read passages about Jesus visiting the sick. We comfort them and encourage them. If they have no family, then sometimes we also clean and cook for them, bath them and take them to hospital if they need to go."
"Sometimes the challenge is getting the family members do this work themselves. If the programme has food, we go and tell the families to go to the church to get food. If they don’t have any family then we take the food to them."
"I’m convinced I’m working for God by being a care giver. I feel that it’s a gift. HIV is a very big problem. We see the statistics and they are so scary - so many people will die. Everyone’s so sad and quiet, and worried about it. I hope they can find a cure. There was no HIV when I was younger."
"We are most grateful for the support. The compassion that you have for helping the poor is wonderful - may God bless you. Whatever you have is a gift from God, so whatever work you are doing God should guide you."
Photo credits Caroline Irby For more info, please see www.cafod.org.uk/zambia