Love and AIDS Prevention

-

English
232 Pages
Read an excerpt
Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more

Description

This book invites each one of us to learn from the mistakes of people who are victimes of AIDS. It also contains basic information on AIDS, various messages to specific categories of people, a strong appeal to repeal traditional evils against women, secret messages by various people to their sexual partner, an appendix that consists of texts which further encourage us to lead a safe sexual behavior.

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 01 March 2011
Reads 17
EAN13 9782296801035
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page 0.0005€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Report a problem

Love and AIDS Prevention

Philip Mutaka

Love and AIDS Prevention

From the same author

Mutaka, Philip. (ed). 2011.Glimpses of African cultures/Échos des cultures africaines.
Paris : L’Harmattan (To be published).
Mutaka, Philip. 2011.Divine bud. Paris : L’Harmattan (To be published).
Mutaka, Philip. 2011.Bourgeon Divin. Paris : l’Harmattan (To be published).
Mutaka, N. & K. Kavutirwaki. 2011.Kinande/Konzo-English dictionary with an
English-Kinande index.Trenton: Africa World Press. Voir aussi site
<http://www.africananaphora.rutgers.edu/>.
Mutaka, N.M. 2008.Building capacity: using TEFL and African languages as
development-oriented literacy tools. Mankon: Langaa publishers, Lightning
source, UK.
Mutaka, P. & F. Bolima (eds). 2004.Wish I hadknown. Yaoundé:Éditions SHERPA.
Mutaka, P. & F. Bolima (eds.) 2004.Si je savais. Yaoundé:Éditions SHERPA.
Mutaka, Philip. 2001.The Fruit of Love. Yaoundé:Éditions SHERPA.
Mutaka, Philippe. 2001.Le Fruit de l’amour. Yaoundé:Éditions SHERPA.
Mutaka, M.N. & B.S. Chumbow (eds.) 2001.Research mate in African linguistics:
focus on Cameroon. A fieldworker’s tool to reveal the stories Cameroonian
languages have to tell. In honor of Professor Larry Hyman. Cologne: Rudiger
Koppe Verlag.
Mutaka, M.N. & P. Tamanji. 2000.An Introduction to African Linguistics. Munich:
Lincom Europa.
Mutaka, M.N. 1994.Lexical Tonology of Kinande. Lincom Studiesin African.
Linguistics1. Munich: Lincom Europa.

© LéHarmattan, 2011
5-7, rue de léEcole-Polytechnique, 75005 Paris

http://www.librairieharmattan.com
diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr
harmattan1@wanadoo.fr

ISBN : 978-2-296-54177-1
EAN : 9782296541771

Dedication

This book is dedicated to people of all faiths willing to recognize the
following:

-the existence of God as their almighty creator to whom they will be called
upon to account for their actions upon their death

-their genuine belief for the supremacy of this biblical injunction:“Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no
commandment greater than this. (Mk 12:30, 31).

Preface

The greatest challenge that faces sub-Saharan Africa is to counteract
successfully the AIDS pandemic. The various stakeholders in this fight against
the scourge of the century have now recognized that HIV/AIDS is not simply a
public health problem. It is a multisectoralproblem and therefore it needs a
multisectoral response. As has been pointed out in the World Bank (2000:20)
document “Intensifying Action against HIV/AIDS in Africa: Responding to a
development crisis,” the successful national HIV/AIDS programs that work
have the following points in common:

-they have government commitment at the highest level and multiple
partnerships at all levels with civil society and the private sector;
-they invest early in effective prevention efforts;
-they are decentralized and use participatory approaches to bring
prevention and care programs to truly national scale;
-the response is forward-looking, comprehensive, and multisectoral;
addresses the socioeconomic determinants that make people vulnerable to
infection; and targets prevention interventions and care and treatment support
to them

This document,Love and AIDS prevention,meets most of these criteria. The
contribution of the AIDS prevention material from the ministry of Public
Health in Cameroon as well as the testimonies of the AIDS victims, the
messages addressed to various categories of people including Christians,
Muslims, parents, the military, the students, decision makers, and the
enlightening quotations from UNAIDS, WHO, World Bank on AIDS
prevention make of this book a necessity for all the actors in the fight against
AIDS to use it. It is necessary that people read this book as individuals, to get
better sensitized about the implications of the AIDS pandemic for themselves
and their families, but also for the protection of the economies of their
countries.
It is by reading the book that people will realize that wishful thinking will
not stop the AIDS pandemic. It is a proactive response by every individual

7

Love and AIDS prevention

based on the knowledge of facts made explicit in the book that will push people
to change their behavior. Such facts are:

-70% of all the AIDS cases are in sub-Saharan Africa. These are not simple
statistics. These are human beings who have their families and children and
who are affected by the AIDS virus.

-In countries where the seroprevalence is not high yet, it is imperative that
they become aware that, if nothing is done, seroprevalence will rise as is the
case in a number of southern African countries where it reaches a third of the
adult population. This means that, if nothing is done, such people will die
within 5 years. Fighting AIDS is a way of protecting one’s loved ones from
suffering and from the numerous expenses one would necessarily incur in case
someone in the family were to get infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.

-The number of orphans will increase if nothing is done. In the long run, the
good will of the political and religious authorities or the family structures will
not be sufficient to take care of these orphans.

-Absenteeism caused by the AIDS pandemic will affect all the sectors of the
economy of countries. If nothing is done and that people keep dying at a more
alarming rate because of AIDS, not only will able-bodied people be lost, but
also, as workers take care of the sick or participate in the funerals, productivity
is bound to decline.

-If the pandemic were to worsen, that would be an absolute catastrophe:
there would not be enough beds in the hospitals for the sick, no funds to take
care of the sick, and the risk of famine will increase as is already the case in
many southern African countries.

Because of all these reasons, we must meet the challenge raised in this book
to pose a special act that will make a difference in the aggressive fight against
the AIDS pandemic. Let us find ways to make people read this book. Let us
disseminate it all over sub-Saharan Africa. The fight is ultimately ours. For our
own survival, we must fight until we win. Spreading the prevention message is

8

Préface

our surest means to protect our own families and our national economies from
the scourge of the AIDS pandemic.
As a conclusion to this preface, I would like to reiterate our
acknowledgements to those who contributed to the production of the first
edition ofWish I had known(that gave rise to this volumeLove and AIDS
prevention), and also to all those who encouraged us to produce this second
edition for a wider dissemination of its AIDS prevention message. Most of you
have indeed found the message of this book pertinent although it has never been
advertised. Iwould like to particularly thank the wife of the President of
Equatorial Guinea, Mrs. Obianguema Mbazogo, whose interest for this book
made us realize more acutely why this book was most important for women and
why it was crucial that they be the ones to play the most important role for the
dissemination of its message.
If you come to think of it, 58% of the HIV-positive adults for the end of the
year 2002 are women as reported by the UNAIDS 2003 document, “an Update
on HIV/AIDS.” As also pointed out in a publication of the World Bank,
Intensifying Action Against HIV/AIDS in Africa: Responding to a Development
Crisis, for every 15- to 19-year old boy who is infected by the HIV/AIDS virus,
there are five to six girls infected in the same age group as is the case in
Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (World Bank 2002:8).
Whether we like it or not, it is imperative that women be closely involved in
the strategies to fight this AIDS pandemic as they are the ones who are mostly
affected by this disease. Our mothers are the ones who experience the
longrange after-effects of the death of a husband or a child suffering or dying from
AIDS. As deftly commented by the World Bank,

The disease mainly strikes people in their prime years.Worldwide, AIDS
hits people hardest in their most productive years. This profoundly disrupts
the economic and social bases of families. When a family loses its primary
income earner, its very survival is threatened. It sells assets and exhausts
savings to pay for health care and funerals (World Bank 2000: 8).

To counteract the nefarious consequences of the AIDS pandemic, we wish
our governors, whoever they may be, to find means to disseminate this book as
widely as possibly, for example inschools, university campuses, women’s
associations, municipal libraries, etc. To fight efficiently the spread of AIDS
within our communities, it is crucial that we ponder this statement from “a
message to decision makers” in chapter three of this volume: “knowing that

9

Love and AIDS prevention

AIDS is a deadly disease is not sufficient; posing an act that will push people to
change their ways is what will make a difference. And you can do that.”

Yaounde, Cameroon, September 16, 2010.

10

Prologue

Imagine for a moment what your life might be in a year or two. Close your
eyes and tell me sincerely what you find. Perhaps, your life will not change a
lot as is true for most people. But, for some people it will change dramatically.
It is sad to recognize it, but some of us will carry the HIV virus because of
some act we thought highly trivial when we made it.
If you are lucky and you were to see your life in a crystal ball as a happy
life, imagine that life in 50 years, maybe in 100 years. What do you come up
with? Certainly the possibility of death looms in your mind. You will most
probably be dead by that time. The question is: what is going to happen after
your earthly life? I say earthly life because, if you are like me, if you are an
African, whatever religion you might belong to, there is one thing that we
believe in: upon one’s death, there is something that remains. You do not die
completely. You do have a soul that survives your physical body. Death is
perceived by most of us as the beginning of this other living thing, the real life
that leaves the body, and has to await some type of judgment.
If you are one of the people who think that we have to enjoy the present
moment and that we should not care of what will happen to us tomorrow, just
take one minute or two and think about this.

-In most African cultures, there are people who are able to communicate
with the dead. This is not a lie. This is even true of other non-African cultures.
There was a French person for example who discovered the following about his
culture. Someone was murdered. But it was difficult to find the murderer. A
seer was consulted and was asked to communicate with the murdered person in
order to get the details of his murder. The story goes that the murdered person
gave very precise instructions about where to find his body and some of the
instruments that had been used for the murder. This information was checked
by the police and it turned out to be completely true. So the truth of the matter
is that there is life after death.

-In most African cultures, people organize funerals for the dead. And most
of the time, they always respect the wish of the dead. If they do not, it seems
that the dead sometimes indicates his dissatisfaction through some signs. Many
cultures usually organize traditional rites to appease the dead. If you are not
convinced, try to ask the Bamileke people of Cameroon why they always take
care of their dead.

11

Love and AIDS prevention

Whether you like it or not, the death of one’s body is not the end of one’s
life. Life does continue somehow. The question is: how does it continue? This
is where many people will differ. There are those who believe in reincarnation,
that is, one’s soul looks for another body. But it has to wait somewhere in the
world beyond before it being fixed into which body it will reincarnate.
Whoever decides to send you into the new body in which you will re-incarnate
must certainly have some criteria that guide his decisions. Most religions teach
the existence of a God and they present God as a spirit which is omniscient,
whose justice is beyond any human justice we can imagine. His judgment is
simply just. There is no way to bribe him.
Incidentally, this always makes me grin when I go to church. Imagine that,
during your earthly life, you commit a number of sins, and you know very well
that such sins would lead you to perdition. But you enjoy those sins. And, you
have money. You can obtain anything by using your money to corrupt any
human being. You are the kind of person who knows how to make donations to
churches and you have the support of the clergy. But deep down in your heart,
you know that you have been committing many sins against other human
beings. Will it really change anything even if, in your church, your children ask
for one hundred masses in your favor? Isn’t this really a way of trying to also
corrupt God? Why couldn’t you use your influence to do good to your fellow
human beings and thus, ensure your happy life in the world beyond if you really
believe in it? I wonder whether it would still be the omniscient and just God
that we pray to if this God were the kind of God who would ignore our criminal
deeds during our earthly life just in case we succeeded to corrupt his ministers,
that is, the clergy which are supposed to either close or open the door of heaven
for the faithful.
Let us suppose for a moment that, when we talk of a just God, it is because,
upon one’s death, God simply asks one to evaluate one’s own life. One will
then know where to go.
How did you imagine your life within two or five years? You have been
undertaking certain acts that can lead you to perdition. You know that some of
these acts might make you become a victim of AIDS. Imagine what will happen
to your children! Your wife! Your husband! Yourself! Maybe your body will
start disintegrating. You will be contemplating your own death, and the
judgment that will be yours because of your actions. Of course, you might say
that you will confess your sins. But suppose God does not want to forgive you
because, in your case, you knew that your sins would lead you to perdition. You

12

Prologue

enjoyed your sins. You enjoyed causing harm to your fellow human beings.
God simply tells you that you are reaping what you sowed.
Because you now see that you are actually the shaper of your own future
life, you start saying: “I wish I had known.” If you did not really know, I
believe God would be ready to forgive you. What if he tells you: I have sent
you several signs to make you repent as I knew you would be coming to me
soon.

This book is one such sign. We do have the power in us to avoid perdition.
We do have the power in us to avoid the AIDS pandemic. But also, we do have
the power in us to improve our own life. Maybe to even enjoy sex better than
before, if only we are willing to try. We do have the power in us to decide for
ourselves the type of life we would like to live in two or five years, or the type
of life we wish to live upon the death of our body.
Just as Pastor Melingui told a group of chief executive officers in Duala that
The Fruit of Loveby Mutaka Philip is not just a novel, but an “anti-SIDA sur
toute la lignequi vous interpelle et vous place devant vos responsabilités à
l’égard de vos employés et de vos familles”(i.e. it is a book that should be
considered as a cure for AIDS and that it obliges the chief executive officers to
face their real responsibilities of helping their employees and their families to
avoid the AIDS pandemic), this book fits even better this vision of an
antiAIDS drug.
This is a book that invites each one of us to learn from the mistakes of
people who are victims of AIDS so that we do not fall into the trap of becoming
AIDS victims ourselves as is emphasized in the first chapter. Chapter two
presents a number of catchy sayings that might be interpreted as bombs
destined to ring in the ears of our minds each time we are tempted to do
something that would lead us astray. Chapter three makes explicit a number of
messages directed to various categories of people in a bid to help them ponder
more on such specific messages to make them improve the qualities of their
lives. Chapter four is a special chapter that aims at correcting some of the evils
against women that many African cultures may have inherited from tradition
and which need to be proscribed. Chapters five and six report messages by
various people designated for their partners of the opposite sex and which
essentially say: “please help me become your best partner by making me
experiment with you the fulfilling sexual life I had been living so far in my
extra-marital affairs.”The book also contains an appendix that consists of texts
by various authors, the aim of which is to further encourage us to engage in safe

13

Love and AIDS prevention

sexual behavior. Such texts are, for example: ways to use this book as a tool for
group discussions to fight the spread of AIDS; reluctance in adopting safe
sexual habits: the case of the Mankon people; traditional guidelines destined for
the newlyweds in the Bamileke culture.
By way of introducing the following chapters, we would like to point out
that a central concern in these chapters is to invite readers and users of this
document to reflect on their own lives or the lives of their loved ones in a bid to
find ways to make them pursue a safer sexual behavior at this time of the AIDS
pandemic. For every chapter, there is a brief introduction, the aim of which is to
appeal to this idea of putting the reader in a mood of recollection. After all, this
is not a novel. It is a document that one wants to read or to use because one
feels like sympathizing with the victims of AIDS.

14

CHAPTER 1

TESTIMONIES BY AIDS VICTIMS

Have you ever attended a funeral mass? Have you ever participated in the
burial ceremony of a friend or a colleague? Have you ever wondered why, in
various cultures, people organize such funeral ceremonies? And for someone
who has lived in Cameroon, there are even funeral celebrations organized at the
anniversary of the death of the deceased.
I believe, the popular reason is that this is a way of saying goodbye to the
deceased and also of wishing him a safe journey to the world beyond. One type
of reflection I always personally appreciate is if the pastor or the master of
ceremonies tells the participants that the journey of the deceased should remind
us that we will be next and that we need to better prepare ourselves for that
journey, that is, that we re-arrange our lives in such a way that we be ready to
meet our ultimate judge who will tell us: “this is the time for you to reap the
fruit of your actions. On the basis of those actions, you are entitled to join this
group of people in the world beyond.”
Notice that, when you become infected with the AIDS virus, you get closer
to this journey in the world beyond. And this is terribly frightening. But why is
this frightening for most people? Isn’t it because we recognize that we have
been making certain mistakes for which we might get a harsh punishment?
Honestly speaking, if I knew that I have nothing to reproach myself about, why
would I be afraid of death? Wouldn’t I be happy that I will finally go to rest?
The truth is that, most of us, we are afraid, and the death of a loved one, or the
seropositivity of a close friend or a relative must remind us that we need to do
something to be able to achieve peace of mind if we were ever to be in the
situation where we would die soon.
As we read the following stories, we should bear in mind that they are
recounted by people who were healthy like you and me. People who did not
know that they would become AIDS victims. But they are today. What about
us? Are we better than them? Their frame of mind while recounting their stories
is certainly one of “wish I had known to take better care of myself in order to
avoid falling in this pit.” These stories are ours now. Maybe, our ultimate judge,

15

Love and AIDS prevention

upon our death, will remind us that we cannot give the pretext that we did not
know what to do. These AIDS victims had the courage to tell us their personal
misfortunes in order to help us be extremely cautious about the way we deal
with everyday situations concerning our sexual behavior. At the end of each
story, I will be drawing some conclusions as to what the story is supposed to
help us achieve in our personal lives.

Case 1

This first story is told by a lady who, due to distance from her husband,
cheated on him and only realized later that she had contracted the HIV virus.
Here is her story.
My name is Sandra. I am a teacher by profession and married with two
children, a boy and a girl. I used to have a fantastic relationship with my
husband. In fact, we were as close as friends until the devil got in and tore our
lives apart and today I am an HIV carrier.
My husband and I had never been separated for more than a month in a row
in our fifteen years of marriage. It thus happened he was sent on mission to the
U.S. and he was to be gone for six months. It was during this period of
separation that it all happened. Two months after his departure, I began feeling
very lonely. I lived in the house with only my house helper, for the kids were all
in boarding schools. At times, I really longed for visitors just to have company.
I took a week off to visit my parents and then another weekend to visit my
inlaws but that did not seem to be the solution to my problem. Little things would
irritate me and gradually, I was losing my old self. I would talk it out with a
friend of mine and she’d say “you’re just missing your husband.” My husband
used to call on a regular basis but I wanted something more than his voice. It
was then that one of my husband’s friends became a regular visitor and
companion. He would take me out for dinners, movies, picnics out of town, etc.
In fact, he was the perfect gentleman. I gradually began to be my old self. I
used to tell my husband each time he called that his friend was really a friend.
Gradually, things started changing. I saw it coming but did not have the
strength and courage to put a stop to it. He would hold me tight and fondle my
back and then give me a quick kiss on the lips before leaving. I enjoyed it and
we were like that for close to a month until one day when he invited me for
supper at his house. I happily accepted since I had nothing else in mind and his

16

Testimonies by AIDS victims

company was good. After supper, we were sharing a drink on the sofa in his
parlour when he came close to me and held me close to his chest. The sensation
was good. This time he did not give me a quick kiss as had been the case but a
slow and penetrating one. I found myself liking every bit of it and getting very
excited. He unbuttoned my blouse and I soon realized my bra had been
removed. It was too sweet to stop and I only then realized that I did not have the
strength to bring reason to our action. I then asked him to use a condom with
the pretext of it being unsafe. He said he didn’t have one at home and could not
stop to go and look for one. He promised to be careful and I readily agreed for I
knew I was “safe” after all. We made hot, passionate love. After this, it became
a regular feature in our activities. I continued to let him have me without any
protection and insisted only when I knew I was truly “unsafe.” It continued like
this for two months and it was shortly before the return of my husband that we
stopped our ‘business.’ My husband got back and though I was happy to see
him, the guilt in me was too much. I could not let him make love to me. He kept
asking what the matter was but I didn’t have the courage to tell him what I had
done. He suspected and quietly made his inquiries. He confronted me two days
later with the facts. I cried and confessed to him. He was grateful to me for at
least not going to bed with him. He insisted that I take an HIV test. I accepted
on condition that he take it too. We both took the test and I was declared
seropositive and he negative. This almost killed me. I knew there must be a
mistake somewhere. I went in for the test again somewhere else and had the
same results. I still could not believe that my first extramarital affair could land
me in a mess like this. I thus went to convince this ‘boyfriend’ of mine to take
the test. He accepted after a long battle and wanted me to take it too as a
condition. I accepted and we both took the test in another center. We were both
declared seropositive. I felt like committing suicide. My husband packed out of
the house. I’m left to face the consequences of my action alone. People don’t
understand how a strong and loving couple like us could fall apart like this.
This is my dilemma, my living hell. I’m paying dearly for my stupidity. How
can I tell my family, my friends, my children? Each time my husband is
confronted with the matter, he refers the person to me. All he says is that I’ve
sent him out of the house. I’m struggling to come to terms with it and accept
that it is my end. For my few years or days left, I want to be at peace with all,
especially God. I’ve tried to talk with my husband. I just want him to forgive

17

Love and AIDS prevention

me. This is my greatest challenge. I want to prepare my children for when I will
be no more. Pray for me.

Some comments:

I know that people’s reaction to this story may be that this woman got what
she deserved because she cheated on her husband. Maybe you have never
cheated. But can you truly say that you will never be in a situation where you
can cheat? I believe this story should constantly serve us as a red light. When
you are in a situation where you might cheat, make sure to take the necessary
precautions. You must understand that you are responsible for your own life
and I cannot tell you what the necessary precautions are. What I know about
myself is that one necessary precaution is to make sure that we limit an
encounter similar to this one to romance. Would it be difficult to remind your
cheating partner that you are a married person? Don’t you feel more happiness
in being close to the person you love, even if that person is not your legal
partner, by showing that person that what unites you is not the physical lust but
rather the closeness of your two hearts?The woman in this story would
certainly still be with her husband if she did not have illicit sex with the latter’s
friend. And the two men would still remain best friends. As soon as people start
deciding to have sex, and it does not matter whether they use condoms or not, I
believe this becomes a form of devaluing the idea of “love.” Think about it.

Case 2

This second story was told by another lady who found herself in a
polygamous marriage and was thus very unsatisfied for her husband was no
longer interested in her. In search of satisfaction, she had an affair out of home
and today she is an AIDS patient. Here is her story.
I got married in 1976 and was living with my husband in the village. We
were married traditionally and thus have nothing like a marriage certificate. We
had four children: three girls and a boy. I was like any other woman in the
village, waiting for my husband to take the sex initiatives, and being there for
his pleasure. I normally was not satisfied but I could not ask for more. I had
learned to accept it that way. Sometimes he would come back home soaked in
alcohol and would want me. I could not say no to him. I would painfully bear

18

Testimonies by AIDS victims

all this. In 1989, my husband told me he was going to take a second wife.By
the end of 1990, he was still looking for the woman. He said I was getting old
and he needed a younger woman to make him feel young again. I did not
welcome the idea but my opinion was not needed. My husband was free to
marry as many women as possible. I knew it was going to be more trouble for
me. Being an only wife, I was not getting my husband as often as I wanted and
now I would have to be sharing him with someone else, worse still, a young
person. Even though my husband used to behave like a brute at times, I still
prefered to have him to myself. When my husband finally got married to this
young girl, my problems started. I was almost like a house helper. My husband
would order me to cook what he and his new wife wanted to eat. It was worse
when she became pregnant. I had to do everything for her. Normally as our
tradition demands, a woman is supposed to accept the husband’s subsequent
wives, if not, she’ll be regarded as selfish. I did my best to make do of the
situation but I was dying within. My husband didn’t need me any more in his
bedroom and I was starving for him day after day. I’d have the opportunity to
make love with my husband only after two months. His new bride with ‘young
blood’ was what he needed.
There was one young boy whom my husband had paid to help me out on the
farm. We normally would go to the farm early in the morning and spend the
whole day in the farm just the two of us and will come back only in the
evening. He was thus the only male person I was spending time with. I became
used to him and liked him. One day, while on the farm, I wounded my leg with
a broken bottle and we stopped and he rushed to cut some leaves to apply to the
wound. He had to tear part of my blouse to tie the wound and in doing so, his
hands touched my breast. He was quite a muscular guy and I became excited.
While he was tying the wound, my body was getting more and more alert.
When it was done, the guy sensed that I wanted him and he took advantage of
the situation. He came to me and started caressing my breasts. I was going wild
and he was quite tender. We made love two times on the farm that day. I had
never felt anything near that with my husband. We kept doing it each time we
found ourselves in the farm. Gradually, it moved from the farm to his home. I’d
sneak into his home at night when my husband is asleep or busy with his new
bride. It was great. I didn’t care again whether my husband wanted me or not. I
was getting my regular dose and it was bliss. We kept it a secret as much as
possible and people didn’t suspect us. We went on along like this for more than

19

Love and AIDS prevention

a year. Then the guy fell ill. We knew it was a simple illness which would pass
soon or later but his condition kept worsening. We still made love when he had
some energy. In the meantime, I still answered present to my husband when he
needed me in his bed. The guy’s health deteriorated very fast. He died after four
months. I was alone again. I mourned for this guy who had given me sexual
gratification. I kept going about my daily business as though nothing had
happened. Two months later, I fell ill and it was alleged that one of my uncles
wanted to “sell” me into his secret society. I was taken to a native doctor and he
‘protected’ me but my health situation did not change much. I was taken to
Acha (the nearest hospital from Oshie) and was admitted there. I underwent a
lot of tests and one morning, the nurse told me to send word to my husband that
he should come. Fortunately, he came that evening. They took his blood sample
but we did not know why. One week later, the doctor asked to see us in his
office. We got there and he told us we have both been tested seropositive. My
husband told the doctor he had another wife and she too was brought in to do
the test. She too was tested seropositive. Three of us are now AIDS patients
today. I know I am the one who contaminated my husband who later
contaminated his new bride. I blame myself but I know my husband should
share part of the responsibility. He pushed me out by starving me sexually.
That is the situation of my family. The six children will be left on their own
sooner than later. My husband is already so sick like myself. My co-wife is still
strong for now.

Some comments:

I believe this story reminds us that, as sexual partners, we bear a certain
responsibility in the sexual behavior of our partners. If you do not listen to your
partner, she might end up looking for a solution somewhere else, that is, she
might go with someone else who will listen to her. This does not concern only
sex. It concerns other areas of one’s life. As a man, I feel most guilty. I know
that, contrary to the belief that a lot of men are “macho” and that they like to
have sex a lot, I have heard several men complain that they do not have a high
sex drive when they are with their wives. In our African situations, men have
more opportunities of having casual relationships with outside girls than women
do. This story certainly invites men to be providing regular sex to their female
partners and maybe, spur more dialogue with them in order for couples find

20

Testimonies by AIDS victims

better ways to really satisfy themselves mutually. I just want to remind the
reader of a comment that Pastor Melingui (personal communication) made of
The Fruit of Love: there are three reasons why every family should possess a
copy of this book. First, this is a book that gives precise instructions how to
avoid the AIDS virus; secondly, it is a book that teaches people, (not only
couples) how to use one’s body in order to better enjoy it because many people
do not even know how to use their bodies; thirdly, it is a book that parents can
easily use to provide answers to taboo topics they are often reluctant to discuss
with their own children.If couples can learn how to live a more stable life and
if they do feel that they have a fulfilling sexual life with their partners, they will
be less likely to seek outside sexual satisfaction and will thus be amenable to
avoiding risky behaviors. The couples in this story have learned this the hard
way because they are now AIDS victims.

Case 3

This story was given by the daughter of the victim. Her mother is an AIDS
patient today because her father died and tradition demands that her uncle (the
father’s brother) inherit his property as well as his wife. Here is her story.
I am an only child to my parents with my father already dead and my mother
barely counting her days. My parents were married for over 25 years before my
father died. After my birth, my mother could not conceive again and my father
did not bother. In spite of pressure from family members that my father should
take in another wife to bear him more children, my father refused and said the
one God has given was enough. I adored my parents. They were always there
when I needed them. They gave me a good education and thanks to their effort,
I am what I am today (a medical doctor).
My father died when I just passed the entrance examination into the medical
school. I felt so bad that he will not reap the fruits of his labor. All the funeral
rites passed without any hitch and I felt that my mother and I were very lucky.
One month after the burial, my mother was called for a meeting with her
inlaws. It was there that she was told to hand over the keys of the car and the
documents for the house. She was also told that, by tradition, my uncle is
supposed to take her as wife. She was not allowed to come back to the town
where we lived. She thus sent for me and when I came, I tried to reason things
out with my uncles but they said there was no way out, that my uncle is to

21

Love and AIDS prevention

marry my mother and inherit all the properties of my father. I was thus to be
under his custody. I told them I was going to take my mother away and to hell
with their nonsense tradition. I got really furious. I could not imagine my
mother going through all that. I could let them have the house and car and
everything but not my mother’s freedom. My mother asked me to let go, that
she’ll do what they want only for fear that if she does not, something might
happen to me. I told her nothing will happen, that no curse could affect me so
long as she is true to my father; but my mother would not see my point. She
believes so much in tradition and was afraid for me. My mother then remained
in the village and was officially handed over to my uncle as wife. My father’s
house and car were all given to him and I was also put under his custody.
My uncle’s lifestyle was not the best. He had one wife before my mother
and numerous girlfriends outside. With a car now, he was seen as a semi-god in
the village. He would pay prostitutes to spend the night with them in motels,
and he boasted about these adventures of his even in front of his wives. He said
none of them can give him the satisfaction he derives outside. They lived like
this for years until last year (2000) when my mother fell ill. I was already in the
sixth year of Medical School. I used to worry a lot about my mother’s security
with my uncle’s lifestyle. I resorted to talk to my mother about the dangers
involved if she went to bed with my uncle unprotected. It required such courage
to talk about it, maybe because I was in a medical school, for this is a topic that
is not often talked about. I talked to my mother and her co-wife and gave them
condoms to give to their husband to use whenever he wanted them. They
refused vehemently, pretexting that their names will be sung in songs all over
the village. I did not know what to do then. I just kept praying that nothing
would happen. When my mother fell ill, I started panicking that the worst had
happened. The traditional medicines in the village did not help. The local health
center drugs did not do any better either. I went home and brought my mother
to Yaounde for proper medical attention. With the help of my lecturers, all of
her tests were done for free. It was with a heavy heart that I got the news that
my mother is seropositive. I cried and told her that this is what I had feared and
warned her against. I thus sent for my uncle and his wife to come to Yaounde.
They too took the test and my uncle was tested positive but his other wife
negative. I thus warned her not to ever let her husband have her without
protection. I told her she needs to fight for her life and that she is very lucky to
be negative.

22

Testimonies by AIDS victims

My mother is with me today and has been living with the virus for over a
year now. I am doing my best with the help of colleagues and lecturers to keep
her on drugs which are prolonging her days and keeping her a little healthy but
it does not heal the wound in my heart. I can’t forgive my uncles who imposed
my mother on her late husband’s brother.
It is time for women to learn from stories like this and fight against this
inhuman tradition. My mother is a victim of tradition. I hope others will learn
from her experience and change their mentalities for the better.

Some comments:

As you read this text, don’t you feel partly responsible for the misfortune of
this lady who got AIDS because she was obliged to marry her deceased
husband’s brother? She is certainly the victim of the evils of tradition.Each
and every one of us should feel guilty because, maybe through our silence of
never denouncing such evil traditions our societies are still upholding, cases
similar to this woman’s misfortune are bound to happen. Honestly speaking, in
printing this story inThe Fruit of Love, I was hoping that our religious and
political authorities would read it and react. I hope they will react. I discuss the
ways a solution can be found with respect to these evil traditions in the fourth
chapter of this book. In the worst scenario that no one reacts, because you are
reading this message, you know that, in your personal life, you must make a
decision of not putting the life of your partner in jeopardy. As suggested inThe
Fruit of Love, why don’t you call a few witnesses, maybe people belonging to
your social group, since they are the ones who will in fact bury you, if you die
before them, and then tell them that, upon your death, you do not want your
partner to undergo any evil tradition like being inherited against her will? If you
like your partner and your children, I think you should really do that.The text
you will read in the following story also conveys the same message. Please read
it.

Case 4

Here is a story recounted by the son of a late AIDS patient whose father died
and the mother was left to herself to bring them up. It shows how the evils of

23