Human Question: Interview with Elizabeth
Duration: 00:32:37; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 212.222; Saturation: 0.003; Lightness: 0.487; Volume: 0.112; Cuts per Minute: 0.950; Words per Minute: 119.421
Summary: Interview with Elizabeth from Kenya about her HIV infection.
Part of Rushes from the documentary "Human Question"
Shots of Clinic doctor and patient
ELIZABETH from KENYA talks about coming to GERMANY on POLITICAL ASYLUM and then finding out she is HIV POSITIVE. She talks about her life.
(Q : Name and where you come from.) My name is Elizabeth. I come from Kenya, I am 32 years old, and I came here as a refugee. I was having problem in my country, political problem, and then I asked for asylum. But as long as I came, I realized that I was having an infection of HIV for almost now, I think 2 years. And as I have had it, it was shocking for me because I just wanted to test, as normal people do test. So I just went and told the doctor I would like to test, because from the country I am coming from, so many people have been infected with HIV AIDS, and mostly we are shy, you know, not to test. And so I decided , according to my health, I have to go and do the test. So it was very shocking for me, and sad, because I have 4 children in Africa. And I went to the doctor; they said I have it. And then in my place where I live, in wittenberg, it's a small town - I talked to my group, political group here in Berlin, for Voice of Refugee Forum, and then they gave me the address of Dr Indru. So I've been with him for one year, and I've been taking the medicine which I am doing ok. And it has helped me because my asylum case was finished. I was supposed to be deported back to Africa, but because in Africa, in my country Kenya especially, the medicine is very expensive. I cannot afford it – even one day – to buy for myself. As I am here, I go back home, I start from nothing, I'm not working – it will be very difficult. So according to the doctor and the Embassy too, for Kenya, supported, I should stay here and get the treatment. Which now I have taken it for one year. And it's ok because I think I started it at the right time, which it was not too late, it was at the right time. I've only had the difficulty of being dizzy with the medicine because it's too strong; you need to drink a lot of water, you need to be happy all the time. The medicine also can make you crazy. It can make you crazy. You feel, I am just hated from all the world, why is it me alone, you feel like, oh it's…you're just left alone, you don't want to eat, you try this, you can't vomit also; it has side effect. As now, I have a liver, which it has cost me now, I have a liver problem now because of the medicine. But I am still controlling it. And I feel very healthy, because I have never been sick. To lie down, no, I am always strong, trying to eat. And one thing I trust…in myself, I trust in God. In God everything will be possible. And even as HIV, it's not healable. All over the world, they have looked for medicine. But… I put my hope to God, I always feel that I don't have HIV. You can look at me. I always look very healthy all the time, very happy and good. And I pray God will heal me very soon, and very fast. That's what, thank you.
voice of refugree forum
Talks about her FAMILY and CHILDREN in AFRICA
(Q: Do you have children back home?) Ya, my children are in Africa. (Do you write to them?) Yes, sometimes, but I don't have money because I don't work. It's very hard. So I call them once in a while.
Everything is PAID FOR by the AUSLANDERBEHORDE, OFFICE FOR FOREIGNERS
(Q: How do you support yourself, the medicines?) As I am a refugee here,the Ausländerbehörde (office for foreigners)they have accepted to treat me. That's why they're not deporting me back to Kenya because of my medication, and they are paying for me everyday. I come to Berlin once a week. Everyday they are paying for me, my ticket, they're paying for me my medicine, and they also giving me money for food, and everything they're helping me, I think. I also thank them too, yeah.
office for foreigners
(check German spelling ? existing note)
Talks about where her RESIDENCE is, and how she SUPPORTS herself.
(Q: Where you live, do you live with other people?) Yes, I live in a refugee camp in Philebeg. Ya, in a small town called Philebeg. (Q: You have some support?) No, I don't have any support, ya. I don't have any support. Only I depend on Ausländerbehörde..
Discusses the REFUGEE CAMP, who lives there.
(Q: And the people who live in the camps, are they from all over the world?) Ya, all over the world. We have Indians, we have Chinese, we have Vietnamese, we have Africans. We have Thai, we have everybody in the camp. (Q: They all come here for various political reasons?) Ya, they come here for political reasons, ya.
There are no other HIV POSITIVE persons at the REFUGEE CAMP
(Q : Any other positive people in the camp?) No, ya. And you know, everybody has to…you talk on yourself, ya. But I have not had any…that we can share and talk about. Everybody has his own private life, ya.
Talks about missing her CHILDREN.
(Q: You say you're happy and you're cheerful…) Ya, I'm very happy. Only the problem I am undergoing now – I miss my children so much. (Q: Can you get them over here?) No, it's not easy. It's not easy because the asylum. Maybe I get the volunteers who can help me to invite them, and then one day I get to see them. Because it's almost going two years, I've never seen them.
Discusses the dire situation in KENYA with HIV POSITIVE friends and other COMMUNITY.
(Q:Who's taking care of them?) Oh, I left them with one of my friends in Kenya, ya. She's trying, but not easy. It's very hard. (Q: What about other Kenyans in Germany? Are you in touch with them?) Yes, so many. Ya, and we are good friends. In case we have problem, we help each other. But I feel pity for those people in my country like in Kenya, because of medicine, mostly people from the village, where I really come from, they have really died, so many, because of HIV. And in fact that's why I decided to say that I want to be tested, It's a very small area in Western Kakamega, Mutera district so many people have died, so many, I cannot count. My agemates have died, everybody. There's nobody left in the village, because of lacking of medicine. They cannot get even one Euro to buy a paracetamol, one tablet. It's very sad. I feel for them, and I hope one day help will reach to them.
kenyans in germany
Talks about being shocked at her POSITIVE RESULT, and how she has had to COPE WITH BEING SICK.
(Q: When you tested, were you shocked with the result?) Yes, I was very shocked. I was very shocked. I was very shocked and I didn't know what to do, because…I got a boyfriend, whom I wanted to marry. And as you're still here in Germany, you can get somebody, you get married. And then you get your papers, then you can stay very comfortable. But I told my boyfriend I am HIV, and then I didn't see him again! (laughs) So, so many things, it was like I was left alone, ya. But all alone, I've been struggling, and God is great too, because he's helping me all the time, when I'm stressed. It's not easy, it's not easy. It's very hard. Like I remember, for the first time I've been sick, it's last week. For the first time I've been sick, until I was down. I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything. Oh, it was so painful. And as you know, we lived here, you're in the house, alone, until I missed Africa. You cannot tell somebody, give me this, nobody, and I was dying, it was my first time to be sick. For almost 4 days, I was down. I have to go down slowly, but I thank God again. I am ok, you can see…only four days, and I'm ok. It was stomach pain.
cope with being sick
COOK her own FOOD
(Q: You have to cook your own food and…) Ya, ya, I have to do everything for myself. Nobody will help you.
Discusses the differences in HEALTH CARE PRACTICE in GERMANY and AFRICA.
(Q: What happens when you come to the clinic every week? You meet other people, or you meet your doctor…) Hmm… I just meet my doctor, and say hello to friends. People in Germany – they don't talk! (laughs) That's a funny thing with them. People in Germany, they don't talk. If I'm just coming here, I'm just coming for my problem, I see my doctor, I finish, I go. But if it's Africa, I sit down, and start chatting, sharing about…the other people. In fact last week, I ask my doctor, I said….I need to be talking to people, you know, and then he gave me one address. So I was there on Monday, and I have to go there tomorrow., where they help people for HIV. Because I told him, over one year, I am alone. And I need somebody; nobody consults me, I only consulted myself. And I was very strong. I have my sister here too. She cried with me. She said, oh, it's so bad. She cried with me, and she has been a very very good help for me. Ya. But now she lives in Berlin, I live in Wittenberg.
health care practice
Discusses the issue with TRAVEL to the clinics, and her issues with not being able to go home.
(Q: Do you plan to go back?) Yes, I would like to go and visit, and continue with my medication. But now I cannot go, because… if I have to say that I'm going, I'll go forever and never come back to Germany again. And then I'll lose my medication. (Q: You can't go and come back…) No, I cannot go. If I go to the Ausländerbehörde, they only give me my TC, Travelling Ticket, to go and never come back again, to Germany. Even if I'm sick, like now, they're waiting to hear that I want to go and not to come back again. They don't mind. (laughs) They don't mind whether I go and die from there, they don't mind. Ya. So that was also I had problem, and I go in here, I have to look for lawyer, and do everything. And now the problem that I have is, I live in Wittenberg, and I have to be controlled every weed, because of my liver. So it's so stressful. Imagine somebody who is sick, I have to go to Wittwnberg, it's two hours. Two hours, ya, it's two hours by train. And then I have to stop to Phieberg, I have to walk for one hour. We don't have bus, we don't have car. If I don't have money for taxi, I have to walk to my village, it's one hour walk. So it's very stressful. Every week I have to come to Berlin. But they give me ticket, to come to Berlin. And then I have to go. Last two, some months back, like, today I have come here, I didn't ask permission. When I go back, I have to face traffic, because I came without permission, you see. And that's the problem I am undergoing now. If I come to doctor without permission…I was here, when I came last week, I was very sick, I couldn't go, the doctor came here. I have to come back on Monday, so today, I was here on Monday, I have to relax. I have to see him today. I have to meet the gynaecologist, about my stomach. So I would have gone and come back, and I was very stressful. So that's the problem I am undergoing, which, I am going to ask them, and with the help of my lawyer, to get the transfer to come to Berlin.
Talks about the FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES from IMMIGRATION POLICIES and how she copes with it.
(Q: There are place in Berlin also?) Ya, there are places, but now my lawyer has to fight for me, and my doctor, Indru, because he knows the problem I am undergoing. And then they'll give me a place here in Berlin. (Q: how long will this take?) I don't know, I don't know really. Maybe…I don't know really, I can't say. It's them to judge. (Q: Do you know people who've been sent back?) Ya, so many. So many people have been sent to Africa. When your asylum is finished, you have to be sent back. Like when I asked for…I think last year, I was having a woman in front, also who took poison in the prison camp because she wanted to be deported. So she took poison, but she's ok. Not very ok, she's mentally disturbed because she took a lot of medicine. But now they're treating her. And so many people have been deported, so many. If you're sick, is not good, you have to be deported immediately, you don't have to stay in Germany. It's very hard because we don't have jobs, we don't work, we depend on Schein. I'll show you what I get, what is my money, so that other people can see (takes out something from purse) Ok, this is my money which I get. I get for my food. That's 20 Euro. Here is my money. This is 5 Euro. I can only buy food with this. And as now I'm living in Berlin, I have problem because I live with friends. I have to depend with them. I have to buy ticket to come to Berlin. They only give me 23 Euro to come. But I cannot use this one to do anything in my village. Where I can only buy food. I cannot travel with it. So…like me, I am getting 160. I get 160 per month, but they give us twice. After two weeks they give us, after two weeks they give us. So it is our money which is very hard. I can do nothing with this. I have to keep on begging. And this one is bringing also problems to people like us who don't work, who don't work. If they can give us a small job, it will be ok. It will help us. But with this money, it cannot help. So this is…this is my money, I'll keep it.
Discusses coping with LANGUAGE BARRIERS.
(Q: How're you coping with the language?) Oh, it's very hard. (laughs). It's very hard. I'm trying, I'm trying to speak small, ya, but it's very hard. That's why I went to see this sponsor for HIV, maybe they can take me to school. Because I'm having difficult. But it's ok because my doctor speaks English, and any other doctor I go that I can't understand, maybe I look for translator. I can get a friend to go together. Ya.
Discusses the process of staying PERMANENTLY in GERMANY.
(Q: Are you trying to get permanent papers to stay in Germany? Is that possible?) No, it's not easy. Unless they can decide I am sick, they can give me a stay in Germany. But otherwise they're not giving. They give…white paper, which you call DulDul, so maybe they can give you two months. This is the first time they have given me two months, they've been giving me. I've been very stressful, but all along I'm very strong. They don't care whether I'm sick or not. They've been giving me one week, 4 days, for the visa. Up to last month is when they're giving me two months. Up to August. It's very hard. It's not easy. It's not easy.
Talks about how hard it is to deal with VISA STATUS issues
(Q: But there are people who are helping you…) Nobody is helping me. (Q: Your lawyer is trying to do something…) Ya, my lawyer, ya he's trying, he's trying. Now he's fighting for this transfer, to come to Berlin. Because I'm very stressful from where I'm coming from, wittenberg to here to go back. It's not easy. And there we don't have bus. We have to walk. So it's hard.
Talks about DISCLOSING TO HER CHILDREN and her perceptions of SAFE SEX.
(Q: Do your children know you're HIV+?) No, they don't know. They don't know. (Q: Do they wonder why you've been gone for so long? ) No, they don't mind, because they know…the life they have in Africa is very hard. And they know if somebody comes to Europe, you have to look for the future of your life. They don't know because…my last born is 4 years old, and before I got him I went to test for HIV in Kenyatta National Hospital, which is a big hospital in Nairobi. So I went to test. I was always worried about this disease. But I don't know what happened, you never know, bad luck where it will come from. But the most important thing is somebody to be faithful to his partner. And truthful too. The issue of even using a condom doesn't make sense. The condom too is dangerous. So I prefer somebody to be faithful to one another, and then you can decide, you go and check. I told my boyfriend here in Germany, we can go and check. If am sick, then it's finished. I don't mind. Or we can be friends, no problem. And as we tested. I feel ok, because it doesn't stress me, you know. Doesn't stress me. Because I depend on my own and I have fought all along. If I have a boyfriend, he has to use condom. I have to tell him, he has to use condom. And in 3 months, he has to go and do the test. Even if we're using the condom, because anything can happen. Ya.
disclosing to her children
faithful to partner
kenyatta national hospital
Message to WOMEN watching the film who might be AT RISK FOR HIV or HIV POSITIVE
Q: Anything to say to women who might watch this film, HIV + or at risk women?) Yes, I'll tell them to be very strong, very strong. And pray to God, because to God everything is possible. I am a Christian, and I believe in God. That's why my faith is not going to…and with HIV, I promise you, when you come some years back, I'll be heal. I'll be healed. I believe that a hundred per cent. I'm going to be healed.
at risk for hiv
That's why I don't worry about it. No I take it as normal thing. Because when I was in Africa I've seen, I've seen people who've suffered with it. My first brother died with HIV, and we were children of 10, and we loved our brother. He died at the age of 45, and I cried so much. He was a very lovely one. He has 4 children – 4 girls, and when he died, it was so painful. The medicine was there. Ok we had money to make him…be treated, but we didn't get the right medicine to get him healed. So he has totally to die. Nothing we tried, we tried, we tried all medicines from the biggest hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, we saw the big doctors. When there was the first test for…we called it (what was the name, I have forgotten, Omega, something like that) we tried all, we tried all the medicines, but it didn't work. Ya. Omega, everything, it was there in Kenya. And my family had money to provide for him, to get the medicine, but at long last he died. He died. It's almost seven, seven years, since he died. And I saw there's nothing, than trusting in God. There's nothing than …if I remember the way he suffered with HIV….I know, I don't see anybody with HIV. And I was not scared about it. And that's why sometimes I am very strong. Because I see if they tried all medicines…and after today we hear from the news, from the TV, from my doctor, there's no medicine to cure it at all unless I trust in my God. I'm going to be here. That's my hope. Faith. I put my faith to my God only. Ya. That's all I can tell the people – to have strong faith, and to relax. If you don't relax with HIV, it will kill you. If you don't relax one minute your mind, your stress, it kills you totally. But if you take it as something normal, as you have headache, oh you can ignore it. You can ignore it and just continue taking your tablets. Just know you have it, let it not…your mind, let it not bother anything of your life. Just be yourself., you know. And pray to God. And I believe my God is a healer. Very soon, he's going to heal me. Ya. That's what I can tell the people. Ya.
Talks about her BROTHER who had died of AIDS, and how she coped with it and her current HIV POSITIVE status.
kenyatta national hospital
More HEPATITIS C POSITIVE patients than HIV/AIDS.
(Q: Do you see a lot of HIV or a lot of hepatitis?) Mostly hepatitis-c. so we have about 150 patients here, which are on substitution, and out of them about 90% are hepatitis-c positive, or what is a chronic hepatitis infection, and HIV patients about 25%.
chronic hepatitis infection
hepatitis c positive
Discusses the EFFECTIVENESS OF HIV MEDICATION.
(Q: How effective is the HIV medication?) The HIV medication is very effective. If we manage to stabilise the patient in that way that he can take it regularly, the medication, then it's very effective and it's also the first step before we start medication on HIV. So first we try to treat and stabilise the addiction, and then we go forward to look for other illnesses and HIV treatment.
effectiveness of hiv medication
Most of have ACCESS TO FREE HIV MEDICINES since they are EU OR GERMAN CITIZENS or REFUGEES.
(Q: All your patients can access this medicine?) Yeah, because it's…all the patients who come here and have either a German citizenship or EU citizenship, or are recognized refugees. So they get the whole treatment for…paid by the insurance companies. They have…in the first year now, since January 2004, they have to pay, like tax on every prescription, up to a certain amount of money. And then you get a, like a, free treatment even without the taxes. People who, for example, come illegally or so-called illegal status in Germany – they of course have no insurance and so…if they have____ (AUDIO BREAK), then it's quite difficult to treat them.
access to free HIV medicines
Most of his HIV POSITIVE patients died of other illnesses, and not AIDS.
(Q: Do you lose patients often – they die or disappear or…) Mostly, I think that in the last year, 4 patients died. But all of them , they had no problem, like no AIDS…HIV, final disease. All of them died because of other diseases, like one, for example, because his liver didn't function anymore. And the other 3because of (AUDIO BREAK). And that's fortunately not so common. But mostly, young, very young people, they use drugs in horrific amounts, and then they are very much in danger of taking overdose. That's one big problem.
Discusses the ADDICTION of her patients.
(Q: Some of them continue to take drugs even if they are part of a treatment program…) Yeah, so, for example, patients who are in a very instabilised situation, for example, there is no home. They are mostly very young people, or underage like 15, 16 years old or so. And the patients don't care, or they had a traumatised childhood, or something like that. So the first step is not that – they come here and they have to get rid of all the stuff. Mostly we try to make, like a harm reduction, that they don't go out on the streets anymore. And don't go to the prostitutes themselves, and so on. And so in the first time, they mostly use something as well. Like either cocaine, for example, or ------- , which is tablets, and after a longer treatment, some patients start this alcohol, which is also a major problem. Because methadone itself makes a bit like a cage, in which you don't feel so much, you don't feel very much from outside. And some people, they don't like it, of course. And so they try to find some ways to get out of it, to get a feeling again, and so on. So you have to deal with all this difficulties inside the substitution program.