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Asunta: A woman after her own dreams

By INB AFRICA | 6 years ago

Asunta Wagura

NAIROBI: Asunta Wagura is happy and living positively. Only a year to her 50th birthday, Asunta is full of joy as she sees year-old twins grow healthy and strong.

"I was told I would die 27 years ago, but here I am, a mother and a hero!'' she says delightfully. She is currently in London raising funds to help promote HIV awareness.

Ms Wagura vividly remembers a day in 1988 when she was told she only had six months to live.

"You can imagine being told that you will surely die of a disease akin to Ebola today. That day, AIDs was like immediate death and my life came to a standstill," she says.

However, she says that she had a strange feeling that she would still live.

"I knew for sure that I would live but not for this long!" she says.

She was a student of nursing and she knew a little bit about HIV but she never imagined she would be a victim. During that period, HIV/AIDS was regarded as an African curse that affected commercial sex workers and homosexuals.

"I was neither of these. It was total shock for me and everything unfolded like a movie for me," she remembers.

The worst part is that her own mother rejected her, and that seemed to mark the last nail in her emotional coffin.

"Can you imagine your mother rejecting you?" she quips. This happened before her teachers and fellow students.

"The news came after we had done routine medical tests," she says.

All this seemed to be a well-orchestrated affair because the whole school, her family – her entire ecosystem – collapsed on her.

"It was the ace of waterloo for me," she says.

In fact, she was expelled from school because she was thought to be "literally on death row".

"You are a sure death case and the last thing we need is seeing you in this school," she was told by a female teacher.

She was packing her belongings from school when her mother yelled at her.

"Before you die, you must pay me back all the school fees I have wasted on you," she remembers.

What more, her mother walked out on her.

"You can imagine less than an hour after the information had been revealed to me and the person I expected to be a shoulder to lean on rejected me outrightly," she says.

The ensuing days waiting for death were the most torturous. She didn't know how she was to die because she was not manifesting any signs of illness.

"I didn't know whether I was to collapse and die suddenly," she says. Her family was engrossed in her death preparations while she attempted suicide a couple times.

But then, six months passed.

"I was alive, no sign of terminal sickness," she contends.

And this marked her defining moment.

"It was a rude awakening for me, and a strange sense of hope engulfed me," she says.

Energised by the turn of events, Asunta sought to dispel myths about HIV –AIDS.

"All along there were perceptions that you would only live for six months but I had lived for over two years," she says.

Three years later, in 1993, she joined hands with Joe Muriuki and they educated people about HIV-AIDS under the "Know Aids Society".

Later, her passion drove her to form the Kenya Network of Women (KENWA), an outfit that was meant to educate women about HIV.

She says that women living with HIV AIDS go through a lot of mental torture because others think they can't even have children.

"The whole world thought I was mad when I said I wanted to have a child in 1999," she says.

However, she went ahead and she now has three children who are all healthy and HIV negative.

At the age of 48, Asunta bore twins that culminated her joy in life.

"I live life like anybody. I am a woman of my dreams. And that is my mantra in all my endeavours," she says.

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