Amadeus. (Photo: Nigel Barker LLC)
Amadeus (right) gets a lesson from photographer Nigel Barker. (Photo: Nigel Barker LLC)
My name is Amadeus. I am 17 years old. I was born in Mkuu Makiingi village in Rombo district, which is in northern Tanzania
on the border with Kenya. I am the first-born of four children — I have two sisters and one brother. My father passed away when I was very young but my mother is still alive.
In 2005, I became very ill and went to Huruma Hospital, which is supported by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, for treatment and a check-up. It was there that I was diagnosed HIV-positive. Soon after my diagnosis, I started taking antiretroviral medication to treat my illness and my health improved.
I suffered another blow some months later, when the nurses at the hospital informed my mother about my health status. My mother refused to take care of me when she found out. She moved to another region with my siblings and got married, and I have no communication with any of them.
When I got better and left the hospital, I went to stay with my grandparents. However, as they are older and don’t have a lot of money, it was difficult for us to get three square meals a day. My health quickly deteriorated since I was on antiretroviral medication but was not getting the right nutrition, and I eventually had to go back to Huruma Hospital.
It was then that the staff decided to keep me at the hospital, so they could make sure I get enough food and take my medication daily. I live at the hospital all the time now and my treatment is going very well.
I am currently enrolled in a technical college, where I am learning tailoring. I also have a passion for taking photographs; during my free time, I take photos of people around the village, develop the photos, and sell them to earn a small monthly stipend. In the future, I would like to be a tailor but I will continue with my photography as well.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Huruma Hospital for looking after me. My heartfelt appreciation also goes to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, for all the help they give me through their dedicated support of Huruma Hospital. I do not have anything to give them in return, but I keep on praying to almighty God to give them abundant blessings.
Photos courtesy of Nigel Barker LLC