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Friday, 8 March 2019

Women of Gihanga for Better Balance

It is International Women’s Day. Today I am sharing a true story of how the Women  of Gihanga better the balance with men, this year’s campaign theme. 

Riding bicycle as woman in Gihanga, as in the rest of Burundi, has long been seen as taboo. Even today a bike is still considered a men’s instrument. However, we, Women of Gihangalearnt from our proud mothers to ride bikes. They see the impact of riding a bike can have on their daily by using it to fetch water from far, going to the rice field to work, or transporting firewood. There are so many uses for a bike! And our mothers wanted us to also benefit from that, just like the men of Gihanga. 

I remember there was time when manfalling in love with girl, would first ask ‘’are you from Gihanga? if so, then he would run away because he was scared of womariding a bike. Only we, Women of Gihanga, stood up for our right to ride a bike as well and kept this going from generation to generation. Even if this meant we would be rejected by men for that. 

In Gihanga each family has bike. It helps us with so many issues and it contribute the economy. Honestly, I am glad I am from Gihanga, it helped me when I came to the Netherlands, my second home country. While it is normal for everyone to ride bike here, we, Women of Gihanga, have to continue fighting for this right and stay in balance with men. Our struggle pays off; thanks to our biking skills we can now do the same daily activities as men and empower ourselves. 

Should we expect more changes to come for other women in the rest of Burundi? There is a lot to do still, but there is also hope. Meanwhile I am very Proud of my bike riding Women of Gihanga. They help us women to better the balance, better the World! 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Thank you Birktarvy

I have started my new chapter of my life. Having one tablet regiment per day to treat my HIV. It has been 2 months and I am feeling great. I would like to express my gratitude to this remarkable Pill “BIRKTARVY “ in this poem.

 Birktarvy you are rocking my life big time,
 I have been waiting for you for a long time.
 Really, I could not wait to take you alone, although
 Kaletra, Combivir, Kivexa & many more kept me Undetectable. 
 To me Birktarvy you are better as one.
 Alone you fulfil the task of 4 pills and do less harm to my body.
 Rock and roll as much as possible in my body!
 Very well done so far and I am happy we found each other.
 You shall keep me strong, Undetectable = Untransmittable.

Peace,
Eliane

Friday, 25 January 2019

2019 will be my winning year!

I still remember it like it was yesterday, but in fact it was during the Christmas season of December 2003.  My husband and I had just got back from Pretoria for my HIV treatment.  Although I was desperate to start my medication, I was very scared about possible side effects. 

I was not sure how I would be feeling during Christmas and the New Year if I started medication. I did not want to miss those specials moments with my loved ones.  So I told my husband that I would go to all the parties and then, when they were all over, I would start the tablets on 2 January 2004. I started with 20 pills per day, plus my diabetes medication.  

A few years later the number of pills went down to six, then to three It has been difficult for me to go down to one pill because HIV treatment is combined with medications for other conditions:  diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, and a blood clot which in 2015 got me into trouble, after my cardiologist asked me to stop the medication I was taking, because she was convinced that I was very healthy, and had no cardiology problem.  I trusted her and stopped the tablets, but a few days later I had heart attack on my way to London for holidays with my family.  

Then I started a process of re-evaluation and tried many different new medications. My HIV medication also changed from three pills to four. I told myself not to give up. I started working hard to improve my health condition to play more sport, to control what I ate and to make sure that I took enough rest and ate healthily  

First the cardiologist who treated me after my heart attack told me that I was now healthy and could stop some of my tablets.  That was the first good news. Then I talked to my diabetes doctor who said that if I could bring my sugar level down in three months I would be able to take one less tablet from the four then took for diabetes. I started going to the gym three times per week, to the sauna and also started to walk regularly I controlled my calorie intake and I lost around three kilos.  Together the results of my efforts meant that I was able to stop one diabetes pill.  

Today is 4 January 2019 and after 15 years of hard work and positive thinking, I am starting a new HIV medication which means I am taking just one pill per day!   Like I told you, I am definitely on the winning team!  I am now taking Biktarvy, a combination of three drugs BictegravirEmitricitabineTenofoviralafenamide.  Can you imagine me with just one tablet?  Down from four: Darunavir, Lamivudine, Maraviroc, Ritonavir.  

2019 has started very well for meso think of it as smiling year full of surprises. Whatever is waiting for me out there is going to good – lots of positive things.   

Never give up, always be positive and love yourself in any situation! 

Peace, 

Eliane