This is another story from the “Meet the Artisans” section of Mary Fisher. See more stories like this one by clicking here.
Edina Banda had been married only five years, and her son was only a baby, when her husband died in 2000. Edina believed he died of HIV. Three years later when she was very sick and coughing, she went for a test that revealed she had tuberculosis – and HIV. Only Edina’s mother and 9-year-old son know her diagnosis; she is doing her best to stay healthy by taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).
Edina had eight siblings. One of them, a brother, has died and she is raising his four children – ages 13, 11, 8 and 6 – along with her son. Edina also cares for her mother, who is old and cannot work. With her pay from The ABATAKA Collection jewelry-making, Edina has opened a bank account and tries to save.
Edina also tries to make additional money by selling fish, salt and charcoal from a ramshackle stall she has built of plywood and chicken wire, outside her home. If she could earn more, she says, she would like to attend night school; as of yet, she still struggles to cover the household expenses. She has budgeted to buy some clothes for the children, and three of them are in school – but until she earns more, the other two must wait to attend.
Edina believes that to get the education she needs, she may have to take night school courses over eight years. But she is determined to do that if necessary – and she draws strength during the day from going to the support group, to see her friends, sing and talk and make jewelry with them.