Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Lesotho Aids diary: Orphan

The BBC is following the lives of seven people from the community of St Rodrigue, in Lesotho, who will share their hopes and fears as they each struggle to live with and work through the country's HIV/Aids crisis.

Anonymous | Orphan | village near St Rodrigue

I live in a village a few hours' walk away from St Rodrigue clinic, across the mountains and valleys.

Age: Anonymous
Lives: Village near St Rodrigue
Occupation: Student
I want to be a policeman and arrest thieves. Maybe I would like to be a policeman even more than a teacher.
I want to have a car that can bring people from my village to Maseru, the capital. Now it is really miserable trying to get to Maseru. It takes days.
I would also like to be a chief, so that I could help guide my community. If I was chief I would work in a fair way to help satisfy everyone.

I live there with my 75-year-old granny, my 15-year-old sister, three cousins and my aunt. My granny cares for me, since my sister and I became orphans when our parents died because of Aids.

My father died a long time ago, but my mother only died two years ago.

I miss my mother so much. When she was alive she took care of me in such a special way.

I went for the HIV test when I was really sick with fever and could not stop coughing. I was tested around the time my mother died, so I was terrified when the result was positive. I did not know a lot about HIV then, except that it had killed my parents.

None of my friends know I am HIV-positive. I do not want to tell them because they do not talk about people with HIV in a good way, which hurts me. If someone in school has spots, then they say: "You've got Aids" and they can bully you.

I hope that one day the stigma will not be so bad and I can tell my friends.

At the same time as finding out I had HIV, I also found out I had TB. I started the TB treatment straight away and then I started to take ARVs (anti-retroviral drugs). Now I feel good and strong, but I have to take a lot of medication every day, in the morning and at night.

I try to take them every morning and every evening at 7am and 7pm. But it can be hard to remember at the exact right time. But my granny always reminds me too and now I do not have any side-effects. I get on well with my granny, though she does get cross with me sometimes if I do not do my chores. She says it is because she has to bring me up, so she needs to make sure I grow up well.

My little sister tested negative - I am glad.

She makes me laugh. We play practical jokes on each other. She is taller than me so she says I have to call her "the leader". Sometimes we draw ugly pictures of one another.

I would like to be a teacher, because the principal in my school really takes care of children. She does not want them to be discriminated against. She knows I am HIV-positive and that I travelled to St Rodrigue health centre today instead of going to school.

She knows I come here to get check-ups and for the support sessions. There are not that many people my age in the support group. I wish there were more. Most of them are older. There must be lots more people like me living with HIV, probably even in my own school, but they have not told me.

Because of the support group, I am not so afraid any more - now I know I am not alone. But it is still hard sometimes. I know Joseph, one of the lay counsellors here. I like him, because he really talks about his status and loves to laugh, which makes me feel better, and less afraid.

At school, my favourite subject is Sesotho, the language of Lesotho. I like Lesotho. I will not leave, because I was born here. But I wish there was water and electricity in my village, because we have to go to bed really early - as soon as it gets dark.

When I go home in the evenings, I study. At the weekends I have to do work in the house and the garden. But I also play football with my friends. I'm good - I keep on scoring, so that is how I know I am good.

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