AIDS Tragedy Comes to Tenderfeet Again

The photo to the right shows Linet Atieno, a 24 year old widow and mother of two young girls. She is sitting next to Mama Margaret in her small one-room house in the Kibera slum.

The two girls, Shally (4) and Emmaculate (6), attend Tenderfeet. The picture of Linet was taken recently by our friend Craig Garratt who visited her home while meeting some of the families of Tenderfeet.

Linet passed away this week from pneumonia, her tragic death directly related to her HIV positive condition. It’s a familiar and heart-breaking story, one that tragically happens over and over again.

In fact, Linet was an orphan herself. Her parents both were lost to AIDS, leaving her and her siblings to live with relatives. Her brother Wickliff, 10 years younger than Linet, was a student at Tenderfeet and has been mentioned in previous articles.

While still a teenager, Linet got married. A few years after Shally was born, Linet’s husband became ill and passed away from AIDS. He never told her about his condition, so when Linet found out she was HIV positive, it was a total surprise. Linet struggled to make a living doing whatever odd jobs she could find.

She depended on ARV drugs to keep her healthy enough to continue working, but a recent cold and rainy spell hit Nairobi. Apparently, when she got sick with pneumonia, it came on fast and she didn’t take action in time.

If the Tenderfeet team would have known, they might could have saved Linet. It breaks my heart to say that she suffered and passed away in silence.

Linet belongs to the Luo tribe, who have very strict customs about burial. Luos believe that those who have died must be transported to their homeland near Lake Victoria for burial.

This means in practical terms that the family must fundraise to afford the hundreds of dollars for the transportation and burial of the body. It will be a severe strain on an already terribly stressed family. If you would like to help, please click here and enter “Linet” in the Donation Destination.

Any assistance would be a huge blessing to the girls.

Below is a photo of the two girls left behind, Shally is on the left and Emmaculate (“Emma”) on the right. It was taken about one year ago during the “Day of the African Child” event.

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