A Botswana-Baylor patient reflects back on all the amazing people he has met through Botswana-Baylor: doctors, peers, volunteers, and more!
A Botswana-Baylor patient reflects back on all the amazing people he has met through Botswana-Baylor: doctors, peers, volunteers, and more! I was forced to grow up at a young age, the day I lost my mother. I was in Standard 5 at this time so I went to live with my aunt and her children. Although I didn’t live with my dad, we were still close and he would come and spend the day with me, just the two of us having fun. However, in Form 1, I got really sick and he took me to the hospital. He was there when the result came that said I was HIV-positive. After that he changed in some way, I could feel it and see it. He was not the same person towards me that he used to be. It made me feel very neglected. Along with all of this, I was very sick when I came to Botswana-Baylor. I had seizures and would just blackout and not remember anything afterward. I couldn’t stand up and had to be fed and bathed by my relatives. For the first two months that I came to Botswana-Baylor, I thought I was alone. However, coming here gave me hope. The seizures went away and I was able to meet a lot of people through Botswana-Baylor. It was fun to meet a lot of kids my age that I could talk to and have fun with. They were all in the same situation as me, which gave me a sense of belonging and showed me that I wasn’t an outcast.
Botswana-Baylor has that feeling of home because when I get there, I feel like I am in the right place. I can be free and not fear anything because I am with people who understand my situation and want to help. Everyone is always patient and in a good mood, which makes me feel like I can open up to them.
The biggest challenge with taking my medication has been timing issues. I might still be doing a school project and far from finishing but it is time for me to take my pills so I would have to go home without submitting the assignment. Also side effects are tough. Sometimes I feel weird after taking them, like something is off. Often I will get really hot. Through Botswana- Baylor though I learned that I could avoid that by taking the pills with cold water.
To me, Botswana-Baylor is like a second home. Because of it, I know what I want to do when I get older. I want to help kids in the same situation as I was. I want to tell them, “I was there once and I can give you advice on how to overcome some of the challenges that you are dealing with.” I see myself being a helping hand. Having this dream helps motivate me toward the future because there is so much I want to accomplish in life!
“I am with people who understand my situation and want to help.”