Orphan of Wits
Jude O Mba’s imaginary Orphan of Wits is an epic tale of HIV/AIDS response in a country in the late 90s and aims to zero stigma. The protagonist, Kenechi, a child, lost his father, a truck driver, to the epidemicIn Episode 1. At the same period, Mr. Patrick, a HIV/AIDS activist from East Africa, paid a return visit to his counterpart, Mr. Edwin, the Operation manager of Life Foundation, in the .. More
The protagonist, Kenechi, a child, lost his father, a truck driver, to the epidemic In Episode 1. At the same period, Mr. Patrick, a HIV/AIDS activist from East Africa, paid a return visit to his counterpart, Mr. Edwin, the Operation manager of Life Foundation, in the country in Episode 2. This was at the time when HIV/AIDS response was not intensive in the country due to sanctions imposed on the military junta that saw no development partners helping out in the fight. This pathetic situation was very noticeable in Episode 3 when Rita together with other officials and inmates of Life Foundation watched Amaka, her daughter, died of the pandemic since there was no pediatric ARV drug then to keep her alive. In Episode 4, Kenechi’s mother and her newborn child also died of the epidemic.
Hesitantly, his uncle took him to his residence at GRA in the state capital. He faced grave stigmatization from Lovet, his uncle’s wife, who had been snobbish to the family over the spate of deaths which she was convinced was caused by AIDS in Episode 5. Fearing that Lovet might maim Kenechi after horrible physical assault on him by her, Kenechi’s uncle took a very unpleasant decision to send her away using tricks in Episode 6. Kenechi slept in the motor park as he waited in vain for one Mr. Martin whom his uncle said would take him. He was later taken to police station and then to Life Foundation in Episode 7. Mr. Edwin who was battling with chronic cancer later obliged Patrick’s request to go with Kenechi to Uganda after getting permission and clearance from the Ministry of Women and Youth Development.
Ten years later in Episode 8, Kenechi returned to the country. And after paying respect to his late mentor, Edwin, he visited his uncle and family and reconciled with them. Expectedly though, he was keen to realize his vision to champion the cause of HIV/AIDS campaign in the country with experiences garnered from Eastern region of the continent which for over a decade had better HIV/AIDS response because of relatively conducive political climate and consequent preponderance of foreign donor agencies in the campaign. Episode 9 included the case of Ekene who was rejected by pastor for testing positive to HIV but was consolled and counselled by Ken, Mr. Edwin’s successor. Kenechi condemned the sexual abuse suffered by Chika through her uncle in Episode 10, and took her to Life Foundation. He also bemoaned the stigma meted out to Grace who was living with HIV/AIDS as she came for treatment of opportunistic infections in a hospital in Episode 11. In Episode 12, Kenechi reconciled Adaeze who tested positive to HIV with her family. A clampdown on fake operators in the civil society groups ensue in Episode 13 after two Americans visited the state capital only to find out that their beneficiary, Tony, was a fraudster who had NGO on laptop. Kenechi inspired Ekene to courageously wear a HIV-positive branded T-shirt. He advocated for the cause of prisoners living with HIV/AIDS among others and brilliantly and passionately argued with a priest as he beckoned him and his colleagues in the faith-based organizations to keep silent on prophylaxis or stop its condemnation which he believed was scuttling the campaign in Episode 14. However, government’s crackdown continued with the arrest and detention of Kenechi’s boss, Ken, caused by a typographic error in the invoice he submitted a day to the Candlelight Memorial Day. Sadly enough, Kenechi had accident in a taxi after the ceremony. Friends, relatives, and stakeholders on HIV/AIDS matters rushed to the hospital praying for God’s mercy on his life while he was still in coma. Incidentally, Ken’s arrival at the Intensive Care Unit after his release coincided with Kenechi’s wake from the deep sleep after he saw Ken yelling at him to turn back. Thus, they cheered and praised God. Jude O Mba’s imaginary Orphan of Wits is an epic tale of HIV/AIDS response in a country in the late 90s and aims to zero stigma.
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