Perseverance - Grace Akinyi
Hired in 1997 as a health promoter for the Congo region of Kawangware, Grace still retains that title today. A hard worker, now widowed, has 3 jobs, with 6 children who rely on her and a few of which are infected with the epidemic that has taken flight in Kenya. HIV/ AIDS leaves the children to suffer, according to Grace, because of the stigma that is still attached to being infected and how it is passed. In the villages women are believed to be carriers/transmitors of the disease and often when they go to bury their loved ones in the place of their birth, their families turn their backs on them. Grace explains to me with a pause and hesitation that she believes it is this turning away of those in need, that directly relates to child labour and the prostitution that exists. Two things that no one likes to discuss or will claim exists but is prevalent and undeclared. Yet another repercussion of poverty. But Grace keeps going. She does not complain or act despondent but shares in such a way that you know in her mind there is no other choice but to persevere, hoping, knowing, that for her children it will be different.