“Fernanda* is one of our oldest patients,” Pascual writes. “Thirteen years with Siempre Unidos! The bag was too heavy for Fernanda to hold, and almost her size!”
With the support of donors like All Saints By the Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California, we are able to provide HIV-positive patients who are very poor with food support. Without proper nutrition, the antiretroviral medications are not as effective.
So what is in the bag? It includes 5 pounds each of rice, beans, wheat flour, and corn flour as well as a lot of pasta, salt, canola oil, tomato paste, oatmeal, sugar, seasoning and canned meat.
And who is Fernanda? We saw her last summer when she shared a bit about herself. When she was a young pregnant woman, her family didn’t want her to have children. They were concerned because her form of dwarfism can result in pregnancy complications. After her son was born, the father left her. “He drank a lot,” she says. She now lives with her grown son and his family. She earns about $7 a week caring for children. Fernanda is pictured here with SU staff members Pascual and Delmy.
Fernanda is a fighter. “My goal was to make it to age 50. I am 55,” she told us. She dutifully takes her antiretroviral medications and the regular two-hour bus ride to get to our clinic. Fernanda has had a lot of hardships and yet she is kind, open and hopeful. She inspires us.
* a pseudonym