EPISODE 003: CROSSROADS
“My name is Halima I’ve been suffering from depression, or rather let me call it dejection.”
“I was taken from my parents at the age of two (2) to live with my aunt who resided in Gombe state at the time. My aunt didn’t treat me well, she married me off at the age of eleven (11) to a man who was about thirty (30) years older than i was. He was over forty years of age. You can imagine the age bracket between us.”
“Sadly, my aunt passed away a few years ago. I am rather ‘alone’ with my husband, no family per say.”
“I am presently in my thirties and have relocated to Kogi State.”
“I now have three (3) children with my husband.”
Halima continues: “Regardless, of the fact that I was married-off really early in life, I didn’t let that deter me from getting an education. I attended adult education classes and passed my West African Examination Counsel (WAEC) and Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) tests which are the mandatory tests written in Nigeria before you can proceed from Secondary school to any Tertiary institution.”
“Because I was successful in my test examinations, I applied to study Human Medicine as my first degree but sadly, I didn’t get the admission into the university of my choice. After a number of attempts, years gone by, and time is wasting, I settled to study Microbiology as a university degree just so I could go to school and become something in life.”
“Again, I did not get admission to study Microbiology, and the timeframe through these attempts to gain admission into a higher institution is almost a decade past.”
“Naturally, I slipped into depression and tried to deal with it by using sleeping pills. I think I got hooked on the pills because I later regretted and tried to break my addiction to them.” She paused for breathe.
She continued: “You see! I generally like to keep my private business to myself but I need to vent! So I’ll just go ahead and say it all!”
“My husband is a very promiscuous man. We now have three (3) children.”
“When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband strongly instructed me saying that under no circumstance was I to undergo any form of blood testing in the laboratory without his consent.” “In fact, he was emphatic about it particularly saying, ‘no HIV test.’ I became even more curious, so after my child was born, unknown to him, I ran the test and then discovered I was HIV+ and so was my child.”
“This completely shook my whole world and it threw me off balance. I mean, yes, I was devastated! My husband, is a business man who travels a lot from Sokoto to Kogi then Gombe and on and on. In his promiscuity, couldn’t he at the very least use protection?”
“Anyway, since then my child and I have been taking our HIV medications. You should see my child, it just bugs me that in spite of all efforts, my child still looks physically unhealthy and it breaks my heart.
I have never mentioned it to anyone before now, not even my family, my reason is that I don’t want my child to also have to deal with being stigmatized.” She lamented and cried.
After shedding tears, Halima continued saying “For the other two kids they were not infected with the disease because I was now aware of my health status so I took preventive measures to ensure that they were safe during pregnancy. The funny thing is that this isn’t the only reason I am sharing my story, there’s something else.” She exclaimed!
“Being a young woman with wants and needs, it wasn’t too long before I fell for another man who gave me some real, good attention and the affection grew.”
“My man! As I like to call him, we met through social media and I was pleasantly surprised to find out we didn’t live too far away from each other. We would talk and laugh; I was happy with him and thus a relationship started. I thought it was only right and proper to tell him the truth about my health status, so I did! But once i confided in him about my status, things changed. He began to withdraw gradually, I heard less and less from him, till communication stopped. I became devasted and I started asking myself why I was even honest with him in the first place?” She gasped for air.
“Well,” she continued, “I really like him a lot and I don’t want to loose him. For the first time in a long time I was happy with the affection I have with a man which is why I booked this call today. How do I salvage this situation?” She paused.
“Hello! Are you there?” Halima asked.
The Guy calling on behalf of The1Habitat quickly responded to interrupt the silence.
“Yes I’m here Halima, I am listening to you.”
“Well thanks for listening I didn’t know a person could be that quiet and just listen, I appreciate you.” Halima acknowledged.
“It’s my pleasure.” The voice on the other side of the phone calmly responded.
“So what do I do?” Halima cried out.
“Ok! First I would like to ask about your relationship with your husband… How is it now?” The1Habitat rep asked.
“It’s fine.” Halima replied.
“Ok that’s fine!” He said and then went on.
“Now, I need to clearly point out to you that keeping this other man aside from your husband is clearly cheating!
Are you comfortable being unfaithful to your husband?”
“No I am not.” Halima sighed heavily.
“But I am in dire need of companionship and I don’t have anyone.” Halima cried out.
“No! please don’t say that…” the rep said “We at The1Habitat are here for you anytime you need us.”
Halima hesitated before speaking. “I am not sure that would work…” she trailed off sounding unsure.
“Look talking is very therapeutic, and it seems you have little or no one in your circle you can really talk to. Especially since your husband is away most times.” The male rep said. “So what I’m saying is that you don’t have to bottle things up anymore.
The1Habitat is here for you.” He said reassuringly, “I am going to move you to our priority list, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, we will be there for you.”
“Oh wow!” Halima said smiling to herself “When you put it like that it’s hard to say no.” Halima sighed and then said confidently “Ok! I will lean on you The 1Habitat.” She said smiling.
“Thank you for the priviledge, Halima.” The rep said, “And I would like to say, with all you have gone through from the story you just shared, you are a strong woman, and you have overcome so many hurdles. I just want you to know that you will overcome this so… BE STRONG.”
“Thank you so much… I really needed this.” Halima said calmly.
“We are here for you.” The rep said once again and quickly continued “I am going to give you our direct contact number, you can reach us through WhatsApp and all our social media platforms so you have multiple ways to contact us.” The rep said.
“Oh ok!” Halima replied
“Thank you for using The1Habitat, have a good day.” The rep said concluding the conversation.
“Bye!” Halima said before dropping her phone.