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says Zinash Degefa


Zinash Degefa

She is the seventh child for her parents, who lived on farming.

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Addis Ababa Administration


Tilla Association of Women Living with HIV

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"I was five when I went to Addis Ababa from Debre Birhan with my uncle. I got my primary education at Kokebe Tsibeha School. Because I couldn't agree with my uncle's wife, I went to my merchant aunt who lived in Nazareth. While working in my aunt's hair dressing shop, I came to know my husband. When he asked me for marriage, I told my family and we got married. He was my first." "My husband used to work in someone's house. After we got married, we opened our own shop. We had two children and were living happily together. Later, my husband started to get sick frequently. We decided to move to Awassa. We rented a house there and continued our trade. In the middle of this, we quarreled and separated for two months. Nevertheless, because we were married through vows, we were reconciled by the help of some people." Even if Zinash was reconciled to her husband, she couldn't live with him. After being seriously sick, he died. "I couldn't understand for a long time the meaning of the words he said in his deathbed. He said, 'Forgive me for I hurt you.' I became suspicious when I started to be sick after sometime. A friend of mine who lives with the virus saw my condition and made me have a blood test. When I was told that I have the virus, I understood my husband's apology." Zinash is now a member of Tilla Association. She works in an NGO. "Where I first rented, I used to drink coffee and celebrate holidays together with the owners. Later, when they knew that I'm living with the virus, they made me leave their house. Where I live now, even if they know that I'm living with the virus, they don't isolate me. We understand each other very much. Because I've a job now and am busy most of the time, I forget my sickness. I remember it when I sit alone at home after work." In her spare time Zinash enjoys doing needlework and following radio and TV programs. Her main wish is to raise her children and see them succeed. "The society should avoid cheating in marriage. They should discuss openly. When everyone realizes that it's possible to live with the virus and lead a family, I think, living under masks will stop. Love is a great healer to the people who are living with the virus. Therefore, the society should give us this. In addition to this, we've a big national and human responsibility to take care of orphan children."


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