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The Namibian/All Africa Global Media: Twin Challenges

Twin Challenges
from The Namibian/All Africa Global Media, August 23, 2011

Aug 23, 2011 (The Namibian/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) — IN A homestead at the village of Otaukondjele near Eenhana lives Rachel Mani (82) and her five grandchildren, all of whom are orphans that she is taking care of.

Mani herself had fourteen children of which seven have died at the homestead all of HIV/Aids and two of her grandchildren are also positive and living on ARV medication.

Loide and Lonia Wilho are fifteen-year-old twins who are as different as day and night. Loide is negative and a strong teenager, whereas Loina is a frail, underdeveloped – sick HIV positive girl. The twins were about three years old when their mother died and Mani started to care for them. For the past ten years Mani has been taking care of all five grand children. They all attend school and she pays the school fees and uniforms from their OVC grant and her pension.

One of the grandchildren, who is also positive was still breastfeeding when his mother died. He had a constant rash and was very sickly as a baby, so Mani took all her grand children to the clinic and had them tested when she discovered that two were positive and Loina also had TB.

The two children have been on medication for the past six years now.

She with the help of the children tend the mahangu fields and this year’s harvest was very poor. She is currently trying to build a hut for each of her grandchildren and said “I want them to have their own place but I struggle to collect the building materials as I am getting old and would like to get some corrugated iron sheets which would make the construction so much easier”.

All the children help their grandmother with the collection of wood, tending the field and other household chores except Loina. “She is too weak and her TB has returned so she is coughing all the time and gets very short of breath,” said Mani.

The twins are both in Grade 5 and they want to be a nurse and a teacher respectively. “I feel very sad that I don’t look like my twin and I don’t understand it as we are supposed to be the same. She is tall and very fat and she never gets sick,” said Loina. Where Loide said that she wishes that her twin could get better as she does not like seeing her sick and weak all the time. “I worry about her a lot and when she gets sick I worry that she might die,” said Loide.

When asked if they could wish for anything in the world Loina answered “I want to get better so I can finish school and become a teacher”. Loide wished she had plenty and very nice clothing.

The Namibian Red Cross Society helps the family by providing school uniforms to the children as well as giving food aid, blankets and jerry cans for the collection of water for the homestead.

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