Connecting local responses around the world
St Joseph’s Team, with Onesmus from the Constellation, visited Amos and Sarah Koza in the home of Amos’s parents at Zithobeni Township, Bronkospruit on 24 March 2010. The home of Amos was pointed out as a highlight of the Home based care program of St Joseph when the group reflected on their timeline. When we got right at the Gate, Amos on a walking aid spotted us from a distance and came over to welcome us.
He led us straight to the sitting room where we had our chat. We began by introducing ourselves and the atmosphere was full of joy. We also had Amos parents who came over to welcome us as well. Amos didn’t hesitate to share his story. He said, “I feel so energised when you guys visit me. I have come a long way, he recalls.” Moses has had TB and is HIV positive, and is quite sick. His wife Sarah is also HIV positive but looks well. Both are on
When Amos discovered he had HIV, he hid it from his wife and family. He was on TB medication which is the 'only' one thing the family knew about then, but he hid the ARVs. He said he was afraid to reveal it to his wife because he feared being physically abused by the wife, Sarah. Adelaide, the Care giver regularly counselled and visited Amos and provided the
facilitation for him to build his self confidence. This led to the revelation of his status to his wife.
Over time the focus of the Care giver shifted from ‘Amos’ to include the whole family. The family relationship began to strengthened; HIV discussions began to open up as Amos shared his concerns and vision for his Life and health with the family. Because of this, Sarah went for testing and is now on ARVs as well.
Amos’ younger brother has also tested for HIV. It seems the family at large was reluctant but slowly started to speak about HIV and or to go for HIV testing. It became very clear that St Joseph’s team offered a huge support to this couple, not only through Adelaide and the Home Based Care program, but also through the provision of a safe, free, confidential service of VCT and ART. Sarah noted, recalling of their two sons, aged 8 and 5, “these two children still have both their parents, as a result of us being alive today and this is something that is immeasurable to us and the family. We can see them going to school. Our health is improving steadily.”
Amos experience touched one of the visiting team members, who had his origin from Zimbambwe and was working at the Care Centre. He recalled a similar situation as having occurred in his own family. Sadly however, the husband had not disclosed his status to his wife and the couple divorced from the stress caused by this situation.
“Your story (Amos and Sarah’s) is a contrast in my experience, in that disclosures lead to a peaceful understanding between you as couples, one in which there was no blame or shame.” reflected Robert.