Human Interest Story 1
In a separate interview, a Bulawayo based woman was also assisted by ZWLA was pleased to share her story. Although her case was still pending she felt she had a lot to say about the assistance she got from ZWLA so far and how it had impacted in her life. This is how Marry Moyo (not her real name) aged 46 narrated her story………….
“I am a married woman and came to live in Bulawayo with my husband in 2010. My husband works as a technician at Engutsheni hospital. Four years after we had moved to Bulawayo my husband married another woman despite that our marriage chapter did not allow polygamy (chapter 5.11). He moved from our marital home where we were renting and applied for a company house at Engutsheni. He got the house and moved in with his second wife. In 2005, a year later after he had left me, he fell seriously ill and started looking for me. I felt pity for him and took him back. He was admitted at hospital where I nursed him alone while the other wife was at the rural home. This rural home belonged to me because we had built it together with my husband before marrying the 2nd wife. The vows I made in our marriage (in sickness and in health) made me forgive him and take the responsibility of nursing him. His condition was quickly deteriorating and one day I approached the doctor and asked what he was really suffering from. The doctor requested me to produce my marriage certificate to show that I was his wife before he disclosed any information to me. Upon doing that, he told me he was HIV positive. I explained to the doctor that I had spent the last 2 years of my life without having sexual intercourse with this man or anyone else and so I couldn’t be HIV positive too. The doctor explained what that meant and asked if I was interested in getting tested too. I agreed and after some counselling I took the test. The results were positive and I was so devastated. I walked to his bed and just stared at him in anger and untold bitterness. The pain I was going through was written all over my face and as I went out of the hospital I met some ladies from church and by mere glancing at me concluded that I was bearing bad news, probably that he had passed on. I managed to share the news with one of the ladies from church and my pastor.
For me testing HIV positive meant the end of my life, I thought I was dying despite the doctor’s efforts to explain the differences between HIV and AIDS. The doctor wrote me a referral letter to Engutsheni hospital for the facilitation of a CD4 count and ARV initiation. He was also put on ARVs and with time he was discharged and came back home. I continued to nurse him despite the pain and the suffering I was going through until he fully recovered. We then moved to the company house and at that time his 2nd wife was sick too back at the rural home. He refused to take her to hospital for treatment saying she was the one who had infected him with HIV. She had also delivered an HIV positive baby and she died shortly after that. The child is still alive and was taken by her mother’s relatives. Shortly after recovering from the sickness, he went back to his old ways of promiscuity. He sent me out of the house to go and live in the rural home. My last born child was about 12 years old and because he couldn’t speak Shona I left him behind for schooling purposes since in Bulawayo he learnt Ndebele. Little did I know that I was exposing my child to intolerable child abuse. My son reports that his father would come home with his 3rd wife (girlfriend by then) and screen pornographic movies on TV in his presence. He sometimes came home after midnight or slept out leaving a 12 year old child alone. He stopped paying the child school fees and my son was in and out of class due to unpaid fees. This happened for a long time since I was stuck in the rural areas. Neighbours tell me that they had begun wondering what kind of a woman will neglect her child like that and expose him to such level of suffering. In all this drama, my son suffered the most and grew up like an orphan when both parents were alive and while he was living with his father. It so happened that one school holiday he came to the rural areas for a visit and when the time for him to return to Bulawayo had come he vehemently refused.
I struggled to convince him to come back until I succeeded. I promised to him that I will quickly look for busfare and come there as soon as possible. I did exactly that and within a short period of time I was on a bus to Bulawayo. I arrived home unannounced while my husband was at work and that gave me an opportunity to witness the kind of suffering my son was experiencing. I arrived at around 7pm and found the child alone in the house. Upon inquiring about his father’s whereabouts, my son was quick to say ‘mum, I’m now used to this kind of life’. On that particular day he came home at around 3.am. I screened the dvds in the house only to discover that 7 of them were pornographic. I will always live to remember that day because of the way he beat me up when he came home and found me in the house. He hit me with a crutch (his crutch) and I passed out, I don’t even know how I was ferried to the hospital upto today (showing visibly scars on her face). I still have scars on my back.
Marry Moyo showing the scars she succumbed from her husband’s beatings
The fighting continued and in some incidents I succumbed to fractures and lost some of my front teeth (showing her frontline teeth and the gaps there). He finally moved out from the house taking with him some household properties like the TV, DVD and his clothes. He didn’t bother bringing money for the welfare of the children. I sued to do casual jobs in exchange for mealie- meal or even school stockings for the children. One day he just came back home and when he was leaving he attempted to take my jersey with him. I protested against that and in trying to strike me with his crutch I pushed him and he got injured. He reported me to the police, claiming that I abuse him and since he’s disabled (he was affected by polio when he was young) everyone sympathised with him and took me for a wicked woman who abused a disabled person. We went to court but because he was telling lies the magistrate managed to pick discrepancies in his story. I had scars as proof of his abuse while he didn’t any scars to show any injury from my ‘so called abuse’.
Upon noticing this, the magistrate dismissed the case and advised me to come to ZWLA for assistance in applying for maintenance. I was full of doubts thinking because I had heard people saying it’s difficult to get a maintenance order. However, with assistance from ZWLA nothing was difficult and I was awarded $250 per month as maintenance. There came a time when he stopped paying the maintenance until the debt amounted to $2500. I went back to court where he was given up to 3 months to settle this debt which he didn’t and he was arrested and served a 3 months sentence. After sometime, he arranged with people from his workplace to have me evicted from the company house. I was served with papers instructing me to vacate the premise and I rushed back to ZWLA for assistance. Out of ZWLA’s intervention, I wasn’t evicted. He’s now filing for divorce and ZWLA is representing me. ZWLA has assisted me a great deal in all my suffering. I thought I had no relatives to help me in times of need here in Bulawayo but since I found ZWLA I feel confident to face challenges I face”.