It was just a throw away comment my friend made as she left the rickety village toilet. “Not much to balance on in there Dianne”. She was right, it was a sort of tin and bamboo little lean to out the back of a concrete cottage. The door didn’t shut so we had to hold it closed for each other. And there was not much to balance on once in there.
We had been travelling around the outskirts of Chiang Dao visiting women who are being supported/sponsored by Nuu Rain. The women all have HIV aids, most of them have children, one lady had a child who never made it through childhood so she lives totally alone. None of the women can work and have no one in their villages willing or able to support them.
Their illness is such that they have extremely weakened immune systems so working is just not an option for them. All of them asked for prayer for improved health, opportunities to get back into the work force. The reality is they will probably never regain that level of strength. They have children still growing up, need to get them to school, feed and clothe them and care daily for them. And for some just getting off their bed is the best they can manage for the day.
One lady we met was dressed in her beautiful traditional costume, and it was obvious the importance she placed on the Nuu Rain visit. She had her little daughter with her and her smaller son lived in the village but was being reared by her sister, I presume because one child to care for is more than enough for this lady. Another lives in a bamboo hut and is so grateful that Nuu Rain were able to build her a small shower room and she would like electricity one day. Yet another lady is very unwell and asked for prayer for her fever to break so she could be well enough to cook for an evangelistic out reach on Monday.
There is a grandmother rearing a little grandson and dealing with her drug addicted daughter. This grandmother has passed her grandaughter into the care of Nuu Rain for her own protection as many little girls, mysteriously disappear from her village.
All these women, and untold thousands live a life of ill health, poverty and insecurity due to HIV. They live a life of little or no hope. How it was contracted seems irrelevant when you look at the pain and suffering endured by generations of women and children. They constantly walk a very fine line and the moment there is just one small, even what we may consider minute detour in their lives, the repurcussions are magnified and tragic.
These women and their children spend their entire lives dealing with a lifestyle that has very little to balance on.