Title: Dying To Live
Author: Augustine Farinola
With the general awareness or widespread of HIV/AIDS, and the identification of people suffering from it within our local environment, a reaction arises, worse than the latter-This is the stigmatization of the HIV/AIDS Patients
“Dying To Live” is the story of Mama Gilo (and the Market Women) and other minor characters, who after detecting her HIV Status as positive, was turned to an outcast by her fellow market women. Within this major plot, there are three subplots showing the predicament of three other characters who were also victims of the social discrimination of HIV/AIDS patients. This a story of their frustration, annihilation, subjugation, rejection, bastardization and the most brutal stigmatization.
Sub-Text to Character:
Mama Gilo, a woman in her late 3Os, and about four feet tall. Fair in complexion, and possess a typical stature of a woman from the Eastern part of Nigeria. She was actually infected with HIV through her husband, who indulges in extramarital affairs. Realizing her HIV status a
fight broke out within her family, and the neighborhood overheard that she was infected. This news later spread to her fellow market women, who made life very difficult for her by their attitudes towards her.
Davidson, a young-man in his early twenties, he has a low cut hair, and his face is still in its pure appearance, radiating the grace and splendor of youthfulness. His HIV status was made known to his parents during his medical check-up, part of the requirement for admission into the University. He contacted it from the barbing salon, and was unaware until this decisive moment in his life. His parents were disappointed in him, and he was even denied admission into the University. He was insolated and made to live in a separated apartment within his father’s compound. He later committed suicide.
Jenifer, a young-lady in her late twenties, she has a slim figure and a pitiful face. Her modesty lies in the4 proportion her person and her outward appearance portrayed a holier-than-thou fellow. Her boyfriend got her pregnant, and she had to abort it in secret. Thus, she was taken to a quark doctor who, realizing that she has lost so much of blood during the operation, unknowingly transfused infected blood into her system. Her boyfriend quit the relationship after he was informed by the same quark doctor that Jenifer is HIV positive. Being unable to bear
the whole pain, Jenifer left for the village, where she intends to spend the rest of her life in silence.
Papa Alinco, a merry making middle aged man, who was taken to the hospital after a long treatment of malaria at home, was found to be HIV positive. The need for treatment warrants that his town’s people should donate some money to assist him. Meanwhile, they push the whole blame on the fact that he got HIV through his promiscuous activities with prostitutes at his favorite brothels. For Papa Alinco, Condom would have prevented such possibility, and he sees this whole sickness as a spiritual attack from the enemies.
1. The Market Women and Mama Gilo.
2. The Olerus and the Doctor: Davidson’s HIV status declared.
3. The Ololu Towns People: Meeting over Papa Alinco’s case.
4. Duet: Jennifer and her boyfriend, Papblo.
5. Health worker visits the Market Women: Discrimination and Scepticism.
IN THE MARKET SQUARE
(Normal market setting and women talking as usual)
Mama Bose: eh! eh! eh! Come, come, come mama Dele
Mama Dele: wetin now, you don come this morning. Allow me oo, make I arrange my things…
Mama Bose: Na so you go dey talk. Come jare (Then Mama Dele moves towards her stand) Do you know that Mama Gilo is have HIV?
Mama Dele: Ah! Sheee..she no get Hiv ooo. She dey Kampe!
Mama Bose: Am telling you the truth, she is infected ooo…She go soon give am to you since both of you are too close.
Mama Dele: How U come know?
Mama Bose: Do you know Iya Korede? …that woman wey dey tie rapper for head…
Mama Dele: Mama Kayode! That born again woman…that her house is beside Mama Gilo’s own
Mama Bose: exactly! She told me say she overhead Mama and Papa Gilo fighting and shouting, ‘Na you carry virus come give me, na you carry virus come this house!’
Mama Dele: if that is true, she has to leave this market oo! She can’t just spread this thing to all of us oo!
Mama Bose: Is she not your best friend?
Mama Jumoke: (who has been listening to them interrupted) who is carrying virus among us?
Mama Bose: who is talking about virus here…we are talking about carrot say the price don increase….
Mama Dele: Mama Bose….(she turns to leave) I’ll see you later
Mama Jumoke: (Jokingly) Mama Bose, when you start dey chop carrot….I beg tell wetin dey shelee!
Mama Bose: That truth be say Mama Gilo dey carry….(then Mama Gilo enters)..too much load…Uhm..Mama Gilo, welcome oo. I was just saying that you late come market today.
Mama Gilo: Na my body…he dey worry me so much. Na soso headache dey nak my head and my belle dey turn join…the whole bodi just dey pain me!
Mama Jumoke: That should be diarrhea or cholera!
Mama Bose: Since you no dey vomit…your sickness feel don pass Malaria…you better go see doctor…
Mama Gilo: I’ll be okay shaa! Where is my Mama Dele?
Mama Bose: She dey inside her shop…
IN THE HOSPITAL
(The Doctor is speaking to Davidson and his parents about his present health condition)
Doctor: You are welcome …Mr. and Mrs. Oleru..
Oleru’s: Thank you Sir
Doctor: Your son has already been discharged but the report from his blood test indicates that he is HIV positive
Mr. Oleru: Not my son….not his blood…go and recheck it Doctor.
Mrs. Oleru: No…He is a small boy ooo.
Davidson: (panicking) Doctor, please say something…Am I infected?
Doctor: You see, I want you people to take this matter as one of those things…
Mr. Oleru: By the way, where will he get it from? Am not infected, neither is his mother!
Mrs. Oleru: And he doesn’t sleep with girls. (Turning towards Davidson) Have you had sex before?
Davidson: No Mummy. But I don’t understand all these things you are even saying…
Doctor: My dear Olerus, you must understand that HIV virus is not only transmitted through sexual intercourse. There are other medium of blood contact with an already infected person.
Mr. Oleru: (in an angry tone) you see, I don’t have time for this kind of discussion. I have to take my leave now. If you like (looking at his wife), you can sit down there and listen to him. (He walked out of the room)
Mrs. Oleru: (running out to catch up with him) Papa Davidson! Wait for me now! The doctor will explain it to him alone. (She walked out, while Davidson ran towards the doctor and held him by his throat)
Davidson: Doctor, stop toying with my life. Am I going to die? When? How?
Doctor: (Taking Davidson’s hand off him) common! Calm down! Can you have your seat and behave like a grown up. (Davidson calmed down and took his seat) You see a lot of people misunderstand this whole issue about AIDS/HIV virus. You are no longer a small boy and I know that you can understand what I am going to explain to you now.
Davidson: But…Doctor, I’m disturbed. If I am truly infected, my parents will send me out of the house ooo…and everybody will run away from me.
Doctor: The reaction others towards you do not really matter compared to your own reaction towards yourself. You need to watch your own attitude first….Come with me, I have something to show you.…(They walked out of the room)
IN A COMMUNITY HALL
(The executives of the Ololu Towns People meets together to deliberate on what they are going to contribute to Papa Alinco’s Treatment)
Chairman: My people! Our people used to say that if you scratch my back today, I will scratch yours tomorrow. And there is a song we use to sing in the church which says ‘whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me’. What am I saying in essence? I’ve called you all to this meeting so as to discuss our financial assistance towards Papa Alinco and his HIV problem…
1st Man: I beg, make we leave Papa Alinco alone! Are we the one that asked him to go and buy HIV from those prostitutes he sleeps with?
2nd Man: Papa Chinyere! May God forgive you oo…was it not his wife that gave him HIV?
3rd Man: Ah! You people are behaving like illiterates. It can be anybody’s turn ooo. HIV is everywhere oo. It is flowing in the wind! It is even here with us right at this gathering….
4th Man: Enn! Where? At this point you people have to excuse me…I must go before you people get me infected.
Chairman: Enough of this blasphemy! It doesn’t spread as easily as you think. HIV is not here…full stop. Now, let talk about how we shall donate money towards Papa Alinco’s wellbeing…
1st Man: We don’t have money…full stop! Ahhh, money! Money!! All the time… Just within this year we contributed money for Kingsley’s weeding, then Papa Uche’s mother-in-laws’ burial, and last week too, we have to gather money for the hospital discharge of that ‘good for nothing’ son of our able Secretary…
Secretary: It is Chinyere, your daughter that is good for nothing…very soon, we will begin to gather money for your burial after you get your own HIV too…
Chairman: Can’t you people behave like elders? I can’t imagine you, the so called executives of this association, talking like little children, abusing one another. I don’t want this to repeat itself…Now, all I want you to decide is how much we shall levee each member towards rendering assistance to our beloved Papa Alinco..
3rd Man: Our Capable Chairman, I want you to forget about this issue of contributing for Papa Alinco. Afterall, he is not even a good member of this association…
Treasurer: Yes, he still owes us two and a half year monthly levy…
2nd Man: Don’t judge him from that angle…we all know that he has never failed in that regard before he lost his job when this sickness began…
4th Man: That one na story. I will even suggest that we barn him completely from this association. In case he recovers and then come here to infect all of us with HIV!
Chairman: Mr. Man…don’t think in that direction at all. I know what to do if you all refuse to cooperate. I shall surprise you by inviting a doctor to our next town’s meeting, and we shall all do HIV test….Let’s see if any of you will be spared!
Secretary: I’ll not participate in such exercise, but I will insist that the Doctor should start with Baba Chinyere…I’m sure he must have been the one who infected Papa Alinco…
1st Man: From you stature and your look, a blind man will testify to the fact that you’re a mobile spreader of HIV…
2nd Man: Chairman, what if all of us are infected, will any one of you still suggest that Papa Alinco be expelled because he is suffering from HIV?
Chairman: My decision is final….Secretary! Next matter arising….
IN A LIVING ROOM
(Simple Chairs, a centre table, TV Set, and all that makes a sitting room)
Papblo: You can’t stay here all day and be crying. Yes! I’ve said it in the past and I’m still saying it: “I love you”. But now, it is obvious we can’t be together anymore.
Jenifer: But we are already engaged, you can’t just do that to me.
Papblo: We were engaged when you were healthy, but now you are HIV positive, I’m negative, can’t you just get a basic truth into your head.
Jenifer: But you caused it all. You got me pregnant, asked me to abort, and things went wrong. I needed blood, and got a wrong donation. Now, I’m infected you throw the whole blame on me.
Papblo: I got you pregnant, blab la bla…. That’s all you keep saying, seeing me as the person who caused your predicament. Can’t you go and meet those who got you infected.
Jenifer: You mean the quark doctor you took me to?
Papblo: I mean your other sexual partners! (She moved towards him and gave him a slap on his face, which he retaliated twice. Then, she started crying. There comes a knock from the door…)
Papblo: Come in.
Sunny: What’s going on in this room? Are you guys quarreling? Jenny-baby, tell me what happened.
Jenifer: Nothing. (And she begins to get her things together)
Sunny: Papblo, what have you done to this girl?
Papblo: Or what has she done to herself….
Jenifer: May you be rewarded for ruining my life, and may the curse of my death be on you. (She walks out of the room)
Sunny: Jenny! Jenny!! (He runs after her)
ON THE MARKET SQUARE
(A Public Health Worker addressing the market women: A rowdy setting)
Chorus: We are not interested in your lies, all we want is that they should leave this market…Enough of HIV rubbish…
Chair Lady: Allow her to finish her talk…try to listen to all she has to say…At least, we are the one that invited her…
Health Worker: As I was saying, it is this virus-I mean, Human Immunodeficiency virus, that leads most infected people to develop AIDS, that is, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
1st Woman: Which one of these two do you wish your enemy, HIV or AIDS? We can’t stand here all day listen to this …
Chorus: Yes O! We are tired of her grammar…
2nd Woman: Since Mama Gilo publicly declares her HIV Status; we drove her from this market. But now, there are some among us suspected of having AIDS, how can we know them and drive them?
Health Worker: Women listen; you can’t get AIDS from kissing, sneezing, coughing, spitting, or even sharing cups or cutlery with any HIV/AIDS Patient. Even mosquito can’t transfer it from an infected person to another person. As a matter of …
3rd Woman: If this is true, then why do we chase such a nice woman like Mama Gilo out of this market? After all, she can’t get us infected.
Health Worker: HIV cannot live for long outside the body and it is found in blood and other body fluids. To be infected with HIV you must get a sufficient of the virus into your body. Not even mosquito can get you infected…
Chair Lady: Ignorance is a disease! Do you know that out fear of getting infected makes us to throw those dear to us away. Davidson, my Landlord’s son, killed himself two days ago…
Chorus: Eh ooo! It’s a pity ooo…
4th Woman: What of Papa Alinco, he died few days after he was thrown out of the hospital, since his family can no longer afford the bills and his town people left him to handle his HIV alone…
Chorus: Ahh! Our people are not doing well…
Health Worker: All these discrimination increases the rate at which this virus spread within our locality.
Health Worker: Those who are already infected-Husbands, wife, daughter, son, friends, – are afraid to even know the HIV status, and do go about spreading it. It is only those we know that we discriminate, what about those who hide their status or don’t even know it.
1st Woman: If someone has HIV, you will know!
Health Worker: AIDS no dey show for face! Do you know that the person standing in front of you is HIV positive (Some women shifted backwards)
Chorus: Impossible! Are we save chair Lady?
Chair Lady: I don’t know ooo! Let’s call it a day. We shall call on you another time madam HIV, NGO whatever…
Health Worker: Thank you. (As she walks along the path left for her, all eyes were on her and she felt like sinking into the ground)