Three years have passed since our first visit of Ishmael Thobojane in Mavele. Unforgettable still the picture of his mother, reduced to sticks and bones, agonizing in the shade of an acacia. She died of Aids – as did Ishmaels father one year later. Both of them had taken a harsh decision as they needed to provide fro their children yet were to weak to work. They stopped adhereing to their treatment in order to get access to a small governement rent for those severly ill. Ishamel was the one who cared for them utnil they passed on. He was there for them as well as for his younger sibling.
Ishmael is glad that those hard times are over: the shy boy shares that things have improved. „Before it was just pain, pain and pain. It is better now.“ He goes to school regularly and is living with an aunt who cares for him lovingly. He recently went through the traditional initiation – which will protect him from HIV – and is now considered to be a man. The regular visits of our team and the social worker helped him through the difficult times, break through his isolation and start to taolk about his suffering and pain. In addition, we made sure that there was always food, trained Ishmael in gardening skills and helped him through the tough times. He is still looking after the food garden at his fathers house and plans to plant peanuts where he is now staying. And finally there is a smile on his face.