Jack Edward aka “Kafadala” came up in the open to declare that he is HIV positive. Jack, a father of three, was born on 20th June, 1972. He comes from Wadi Village, Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka. Currently, he is with Tinyadire Moyo Project for HIV/AIDS which is being supported by Orizzonte Malawi Onlus. Andiamo Website Office wanted to know more about him and the new project in this interview.
What made you go for blood test?
It was in 1992 when I fell sick. At that time I was suffering from different diseases and I was admitted at Balaka District Hospital before I was transferred to Zomba Central Hospital where I was tested HIV positive. At that time there was no life prolonging drugs and I was advised to be taking Bactrim every day while waiting for my day to die.
What was your reaction after you were told this news?
Although it was hard to accept, it was not a surprise to me because I knew it before when I started feeling sick. I was only feeling sorry for my wife whom I infected. But with encouragements of Carlo Spini from Italy together with Community of Saint Egidio, I started feeling that one day things would be ok although I was told that there was no cure for HIV.
How was your behavior before you went for tests?
I was a hard working boy in class during my school time when I was staying at St. Louis Montfort Parish. The problem started when I was sneaking out at night to drink and womanise at the Modern Bar which was popular during those years. It was the life style which we thought was best for us but it all ended up affecting my wishes to go further with education and also my life.
Many people are tested HIV positive but they don’t come in the open the way you do. Why did you come out in the open?
I wanted to send a strong message to the whole world that there is a strong person in Malawi who wants to save people by sharing his life story. Sometimes I have a feeling that it was something spiritual.
What was the reaction of people and your family members when you chose to go public?
There was lots of talking from people. Some were saying organisations paid me money for this and it was not true. All I want is to save as many as I can through spreading the message about HIV especially here in Balaka. In my family, no body was happy with my idea especially my first born because of the discrimination he received from his friends. After explaining to him, the whole idea, he encouraged me to go ahead with my plan. I have been also receiving much support from Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust where am working. They were paying for my life prolonging drugs before government started distributing them for free.
What can you say about your health now?
Strong and happy. That is how healthy I am now.
Now you are working on Tinyadire Moyo Project doing awareness campaign in different villages, can you explain is the project welcomed in rural areas you have visited so far?
According to my observation the project has been welcomed and people are willing to work with us although sometimes they ask for allowances as other organizations do. There is also a lot to be done so that this project can be successful like conducting meetings with people regularly, organizing football and netball trophies, music shows so that people can be coming in large numbers and through these we can share with them the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how they can protect themselves. In all it’s a lifesaving project which cannot be ignored by people.
What can be your advice to the youth?
They should abstain from premarital sex and wait for the right time. They must work hard in class because that is the only key to their success. Remember AIDS is real and it has no cure!