I wanted to take poison and die

Christine spent years nursing her mother who was dying from HIV and cancer. While she was grieving her mama she fell pregnant to a man who abandoned her. It reached the point she wanted to take poison and die, but now she fights on for a future with her daughter.

Christine, 35, was the first born of three children in the rural Kilimanjaro region. After her parents separated the children lived with her father and stepmother for a while. But Christine says they weren’t looked after well – they were given very hard chores and sent out alone at night.

She wasn’t safe, so her mother came back for her, but she was separated from her siblings who were taken in elsewhere.

Her mother struggled to provide for her and remarried hoping it would make their lives better.

“She thought maybe this other man will help her take care of her children, but things were still not good,” Christine said.

“Then mama got sick.”

The new husband was HIV positive and had passed it on to Christine’s mother.

“So all our dreams were dead because I decided to take care of my mother,” she said.

“But because I knew that she was trying to fight for us I never felt ashamed.”

Then in another blow, her mother developed cancer too.

After a very long illness, Christine’s mother finally died in 2014.

“After my mother passed away I needed someone to comfort me so I had a fiancé.

“But when I told him I was pregnant things became difficult again. He wanted to abort but I did not want to.

“By that time I didn’t have a job or anywhere to stay, it was very very difficult.

“With the pregnancy I reached the point where I wanted to take poison and die.”

After giving birth to a baby girl who is now three years old, she met Perfect Vision founder Mama Happy and became one of the first members of the group.

“Mama Happy was like a mother to me. She made me feel I didn’t have to kill myself,” Christine said.

“I told Mama Happy one day you will find me lying there still and you will have to look after my child yourself. But Mama Happy said you have to be here with me and we will fight to the end.

“But my life is still very difficult,” she added.

Christine doesn’t feel able to provide for her baby girl who currently lives three to four hours away in her village being looked after by a friend. She rarely finds the fare to visit her.

Christine is currently living with our late founder Happy’s husband after she was evicted from her rental home for not being able to pay her rent

“I just want to live with my child and for her to live a good life and go to school with other children,” Christine said.

She hopes to start her own business and get a place of her own so she can achieve this simple dream.