As she tells her story, you visibly see an empowered woman with sounding esteem, emotions, expression and hope, a scene which is not common among parents/families wounded by HIV/AIDS.
This makes me wonder why the mother of 11, of whom seven are dead, is exceptional; but Maria Namata, discloses that Kitovu Mobile is the pillar behind this.
Through Kitovu Mobile’s Grandmothers and OVC Support Project, the 60-year-old resident of Kakondo, Kirumba sub-county, Kyotera District, expounds: “Through solidarity groups, the counselors teach us how to speak, express ourselves, dislodge grief and trauma, and with their empathetic approach, I was able to change”
While the above, may have accounted for her aforementioned attributes, she says,one pillar, that has largely seen this, is the descent house that Kitovu Mobile built for her family. “It ended my long time misery of sleeping in a leaking,wobbly grass/old-iron sheets- roofed mud house”
“The house had sunk me and my grand children in oceanic grief,worry. We could keep cursing HIV for robbing us of our daughter who had offered to build for us a relatively descent house, but died before realizing it,” She says in a rather moody tone.
She adds: “worse still, the little money that we would have started with; say, to buy bricks, was all drained through medical expenses as I struggled to save her life”
Left with no alternative, she says, she was only left to pray to Mother Mary to do miracles,and indeed,what started as a campaign to have them (most vulnerable grannies and OVC) join solidarity groups and get empowered, shortly gave birth to her cherished house.
“I vividly recall the Sub -county elderly representative, Mr. Steven Kintu, who alluded to a possibility of having the Organization building for me a new a house and end my long time shelter woes,” She recalls.
And shortly, after joining the project as a beneficiary, Namata happily says it came to reality! ‘My fellow Bukadde Magezi Solidarity group members unanimously said she was the very right vulnerable to benefit from the housing support”
“Later bricks and other construction materials were brought, and in just two months, the house was complete. I could not believe it! A a house which we yearned for years being been built in such a short time without our input!” Namata shares.
Adding: “Mother Mary, whom I petitioned whenever it rained, did answer my outcry through sending Kitovu Mobile and its partners-The Stephen Lewis Foundation.
The aftermath of this is nothing apart from comfortable sleep for my grandchildren, who always asked me why we were too unfortunate in all aspects of life, to the extent that we could not have the basic human right, shelter.
Apparently, Namata says, she cleans her compound without hesitation because in the past, people could laugh at her as saying it was “illogical to have a spotless clean compound for such a house.
Other benefits from the solidarity group.
Besides, being able to express herself, Namata says she has managed to cultivate a spirit of saving and later borrows in case of emergencies.
“The very recent one is when one of my grandchildren got sick. I only learnt about at 3 pm and hardly had a single coin with me; but simply went to the group treasurer and got a simple loan to take the child for medication.”
She says she plans to save more and borrow from the group to buy livestock feeds (Pigs).