It’s Not Years In The Life That Count, It’s Life In The Years

Name: Syamala
Age: 30 Years
HIV Status: Positive

Syamala is from Kotala; a village 20 km from Tirupati town. She is 30 years old. She married Venkatesh who was a carpenter by profession. One year after the marriage Syamala delivered a child. Though she was not ready for a baby; her husband made the decision for her. When the child was a year old, her husband disappeared leaving the wife and child. Though very frightened and confused at first, she gathered her courage and started earning money by stitching together leaves (many hotels serve food in these stitched leaves which are used in place of dinner plates). After five months, her husband reappeared. He had no word of explanation or any thing to say to her. Syamala became pregnant again. Now she was earning some money but steadily; she had even managed to save some money. But her husband never contributed a penny towards the household expenses. Whatever little he earned from doing odd jobs, he used it for his pleasures and for his upkeep. He lived with her for about three years though he was not in any way concerned about running the family. He disappeared again.

This time again after a few months he reappeared. He was a sick man; coughing all the time. He would catch fever everyday. Syamala put her heart and soul into nursing him with the hope that it might make some impression on him and he would mend for the better. She took care of him. She incurred debts to meet his escalating medical costs. She even applied for a loan of Rs. 35,000 under a government scheme, under which individual artisans are provided with money to invest in tools of their trade. As he became sick, she sold the tools one by one to meet the rising medical costs. After some months of this selfless service, she became sick and tired of looking after an utterly thankless man who could not think of anyone else except himself.

One of WINS staff met her and Syamala tried to explain her husband’s sickness. They invited her for a meeting where in they discussed a lot about positive living.

Syamala realized that her husband might be carrying virus as he was frequenting sex workers. She did not dare to ask him. She was afraid that she could also succumb to the virus. She met a lot of other women in the meeting who where also facing the same situation. She gathered herself some strength and felt that she was not alone and that she can extend kindness to her husband. He was the same person. He was rude and cruel. His anger never reduced. Syamala house’s roof was made of tins which developed cracks due to wear and tear. On one rainy day, water flooded into the house and they lost whatever little they had.

Syamala returned home to see that nothing was left as assets. She was terribly upset and made her elder son drop from school and now he works to support his family. The rest of the two children are in school.

She now recalls with confidence that with the support of WINS the two children can finish the education while the elder son gets some guidance for life.

This family is hopeful as the elder son who has taken the responsibility of running the family while the mother is able to cook and supplement the earning. This alteration in life has been possible with the emotional and material support they receive from WINS.