I still have big dreams


I am Briana, a 14-year-old class 8 student. I am doing well in school even though I missed two years of education after a sexual encounter that changed my life forever.
Two years ago I was raped by a man who was close to my family and who has passed on. He did not just rape me. He also infected me with HIV, making me very sickly too. When I first got sick I lost a lot of weight and my old clothes were uncomfortable on me as they simply hung loose.

I have been on an anti-retroviral drug that has made a difference in my health and has given me new hope, although at some stages my faith had been tested badly, especially when I suffered from a terrible skin rash. The blessing, though, is that since the medication started to work the rashes have cleared and I am no longer ashamed to expose my body. I am grateful that the medicine has helped me gain weight and I can also fit into my clothes instead of having people glaring at me for being so sickly and skinny.

Since my health has picked up I can now wash clothes and clean our compound. My self-esteem has picked up too and I know I am like any other person out there…and it sure makes me feel good not to be discriminated against. I hope to return to my village some day to meet my friends and share my life-changing experiences with them.

Even though I miss sports I know I will be fit again soon and be active outdoors as exercising will keep me healthy. I have big dreams to become a nurse and will definitely complete my education as things are looking brighter by the day. Graduating as a nurse will allow me to look after my health and encourage people to be careful with their lives – most of all to be cautious about infecting others. It is a blessing that my family understands my problems and they have been more than good to me.

When I become a nurse I will have more encouraging testimony to share. Nothing is impossible with God and I really look forward to that day.