Like so many other women, Naomi contracted her HIV from an unfaithful husband. After learning that her husband's girlfriend had died of AIDS, she went and got tested.
After testing positive, Naomi left her husband; but with no family to turn to, she was forced to live on the streets. She soon began drinking as well.
While living on the streets, she met another man and they conceived a child together. Unfortunately, after they were both tested at the hospital and he learned of her HIV status, the man left Naomi and their baby.
Naomi was not in a good place. She was living in denial, so she wasn't taking her medication; she had no friends to support her; she was living in a slum; she had no hope, and she hated herself.
One day while at the hospital to receive her medicine, Naomi was introduced to Ann, the Community Health Worker at LPK. Ann took her to what turned out to be an LPK support group meeting. "At first I thought I was just going to meet some people who were all sick. Instead, I found strong women who encouraged each other," she says.
Naomi met Mom, who welcomed her with open arms, and encouraged her to sign up for WEEP. She promptly quit working and did just that. At the time, Naomi was illiterate, as she never went to school. By the time she finished the program, though, she knew how to write her name, read English, speak a bit of English, read in Swahili, make liquid soap, and tailor. She also honed her hairstyling skills.
Her newfound strength and confidence have allowed Naomi to completely reinvent herself. "I don't even remember that I'm HIV Positive," she says. "Sitting here like this, you look at me--where am I sick?" That strength has also given her the courage to look ahead in her life. At the moment, she is working in her friend Maria's salon, putting her skills to great use; however, Naomi hopes that soon enough she will be blessed with the opportunity to open a salon of her own.
Until then, she will continue to enjoy and celebrate life with all of the friends she has made at LPK. "All my friends in my life are from LPK. LPK is my family."