Young Zimbabweans Face HIV Risk As Hard Times Hit

Like many young people growing up in Zimbabwe today, Linda Kuterera (not her real name) was forced to drop out of school because her mother could no longer afford the spiraling school fees.

Soon after she stopped going to school, Linda’s mother fell sick and had to be hospitalized.

“They told me to pay for my mother’s medication, and being the eldest in the family the responsibility fell on me. I hate what I am doing but I am forced to sleep with men so that I can raise money to pay for the hospital bills,” said Linda choking back tears.

Poverty has left many young girls and women with little choice but to sell their bodies in order to cope with the economic struggles and food shortages.

According to the Zimbabwe 2008 National Youth Shadow report, girls as young as 12 are being forced to sell their bodies to raise money for sustenance or just to get a day’s meals. Unfortunately, young Zimbabweans are often likely to be left out of HIV and AIDS programmes, adds report.

The report, which seeks to measure the country’s progress on the 2001 UNGASS Declaration on HIV and AIDS states that young people continue to be overlooked in the implementation of programmes. Continue reading

After the Rain

After the rain, which now clots the ground, she jumps out of her shell: gazes into the depth of her soul and grows roots that run haywire, till she connects again.

 

She finds a watery burble, and marvels at the passing images of her life (including the lost times) and how she tried to live in the thin veneer between dark and light.

 

She yearns for the wings of youth, soft and tender, and full of dreams that lacked fear.

 

As the rainbow in the horizon curls outward, she dashes with the full strength of her bones, naked of ambition and desire and dreams of the future.

 

Feeling a little faint, she looks to her sides, and sees it: a sprout of a new wing.

 

Faith mounts within her loins as her wings unfurl.

 

And suddenly, she rises.

 

O, how she rises with a grace so swift towards the single-eyed star high in the azure.