byIngrid van Bouwdijk via web
Ms. Tege W. Mariam is a 50 years old woman with terminal breast cancer in ‘Waha Limate’ sub-city, Yirgalem town. She went through life threatening hardships to bring up her three children, after her husband died. She struggled with the production of locally made alcoholic beverage the so called “Arqky”, which did not help much to feed her three children. For 25 years, like many other single mothers in the area, she kept fighting day and night for survival of her children; “Covering the school expenses of my children was unthinkable; sometimes I had to borrow money to feed my children”. Things became worse for her and her family, when she fell ill. Following her illness, her son who is the oldest one and her youngest daughter became mentally ill. Hence, all family responsibility fell on the oldest daughter of the family. Ms.Tege’s health condition worsened. Thus, she went to hospital with the help of her daughter. “After examination of my breast, the doctor took a sample”, she recalls. The result was shocking: “When I heard that I had breast cancer, I hated my life and I blamed my God for this miserable life and lost all my hope”. She went through surgery and her left breast was removed at Black Lion Hospital with the financial support of the local community. I always cried and I was never part of the social life, says Ms. Tege. She blamed herself, when she saw her mentally ill son and daughter. “Everything burned me like hell fire, hunger, pain…”she said. Ms. Tege’s life turned for the better when she met village facilitator Ms. Masershu, a community based palliative care provider of Beza for Generation (B4G) and Mr. Bekele Kilisa, CBO leader. They identified her while they were conducting house to house visits and counseling. Ms. Masereshu immediately linked Ms. Tege to B4G, that provided her and her family with material, nutritional and medical support. Following a practical business training, B4G provided them with seed money to engage in IGAs. She says: “Thanks to B4G, I feel life; my family engaged in the IGA scheme”. And “I do have an important message for women like me: please seek early medical care. It’s the only solution to prevent female cancer”.