Nancy lived in a fully furnished one-bedroomed apartment. Such an apartment costs around N$6000 a month.
I always wondered why she would not save all that money each time she paid her rentals, but with the tenant/landlady relationship you cannot probe that far.
That she was a good tenant could not be refuted. She was never late with her payments and even paid in advance at times.
Nancy was a shop assistant in the city and her remuneration did not match the standard of life she led. She claimed that she had other sources of income. With Nancy’s good looks, she could easily pass for a supermodel and could make it onto the front pages of fashion magazines. We rarely talked, only did so when she phoned to say she had deposited money for her monthly rentals.
This time around, Nancy phoned on a rare date, the 17th, and I was sure she wanted to terminate her lease or something of that sort. Rather not! To my surprise, she said she wanted to meet me in person if I could make some time. I did meet her that evening and I was surprised that the bubbly looking “A” size model looked exhausted and withdrawn.
“Aunty I need someone to talk to and you are my hope. I am pregnant,” she burst out crying. I gave her a shoulder to cry on and assured her that she would be fine. Finding out one is pregnant for the first time was always shocking. I enquired who was responsible.
“Aunty that is the issue, he is a married man and that was the reason I moved out from my parents’ home because they did not approve of the relationship,” she said. I asked if he had told the man and she said yes. The lover had called her “damn stupid”.
“I told him that I had missed my period and he told me that he was in no position to have another child. “I told him that if he continued to help me financially I would not bother him, that I would be there for the child as a single parent,” she said weeping. Nancy’s married lover shot that down and asked her to go for an abortion. “I would not take an abortion under any circumstances, but he went on to shock me and asked if I knew my HIV status prior to going to bed with him.
“I told him that I had never taken a HIV test before and he told me that now that I was pregnant I had to get one as a matter of urgency,” said Nancy. Nancy decided not to abort and even after taking the HIV test, which was positive, she decided to keep the baby.
“I cannot go back to my parents because they warned me against this, but I would not listen. My boyfriend is now saying it’s over because I have refused to abort.
“He said he would pay for my rent for two months after which should I terminate my lease agreement. I am therefore telling you that I am no longer able to pay rent neither will I keep my job because I was a temporary,” she said.
I told her that she was free to move out anytime she felt ready and even suggested that she keeps the rent if she moves out soon enough as I would be able to get a new tenant. That she is keeping the baby is wise, but she needs counselling as she not only has an unplanned pregnancy, but is also HIV positive. I told her that she needed to register with any clinic for antenatal classes early as it is recommended that a pregnant mother should do so at 14 weeks or earlier.
With the prevention from mother to child transmission programme run at most clinics locally it is now possible for an HIV positive mother to give birth to an HIV negative baby.
With the intervention, it is possible that babies carried by HIV positive mothers can be born negative.
So all hope is not lost for Nancy.