Last year I met some women in Kwa-Zulu Natal who blew my socks off. KZN is the province most devastated by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Almost 40% of the population there is estimated to be living with HIV. One in five children is an AIDS orphan.
I was there with the Positive Heroes Ultra-Marathon team. We do outreach work in communities around the race routes. Nothing better proves that HIV is survivable than five healthy, fit people standing up in front of you saying “Hi I am HIV positive and I am running the Comrades Marathon (almost 90km /56 miles) tomorrow”.
That day we were visiting a secondary (high) school about an hour outside of Durban. Parents had trickled in to see what we were up to – and two ladies came over to me and offered me some eggs. They were so thrilled that we were at the school, that we had honoured them with a visit – they had come to welcome us.
But more than that – these eggs were from their own chickens. As we talked, I learned they had a business. They had grown from having one henhouse – supplementing their families’ food store; to building and maintaining three henhouses that held 20 chickens. They sold and bartered the eggs. Fed, housed and clothed their families with the proceeds. And, importantly, were able to send their kids to the school we were visiting. They were very proud of their henhouses and they offered to show them to me.