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Temporary Miracle

African Voices: Farida Nakayinga

Farida Nakayinga

AIDS orphan

Rakai District, Uganda

Photographed on January 10, 2006

Farida Nakayinga has an angelic, faraway look in her eyes. She talks with a nurse and a visitor, her eyes rarely meeting theirs. Instead, she looks down at the cement floor of a Rakai Health Sciences Program mobile clinic or peers out the door onto a dirt road and green hills beyond. Nakayinga talks softly, almost inaudibly. She keeps her hair cropped short and wears a pink dress trimmed in a white floral print. In the busy clinic, nurses draw blood, chat with people and shepherd patients to see a doctor in another room. During Nakayinga's examination, the nurse asks her to stand on a scale. The nurse stoops to read the result. Nakayinga weighs 34 kilograms, about 75 pounds. She is 16 years old and HIV positive.

“I walked to this place. I live four miles away. Today, I'm not feeling as bad as before except for some abdominal pain. I used to cough a lot, but I still have abdominal pains off and on. My mother died when I was 12. My father died when I was 14. He was a fisherman. He was a jolly man. He would sit down and talk to us. I have one brother; he is younger. He went to live with my mom's sister. I still see him. I went to live with my uncle.

I'm not angry, but it makes me sad—what I have gone through.

I would like to become a health worker. I think it's a good profession.”

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