Based on a true story
The definition of love is as old as mankind and each is based on variety of perspectives. Some define love as caring and wanting the best of the person even if it means putting behind one’s own individual needs. Love is to see the best in a person despite their flaws, believing in them even when they don’t believe in themselves, notice and appreciate every good trait about them, think about all the time and so on.
So you decide to spend the rest of your life with the person you love to make a home and raise kids together.
My name is Zainab. I was born and raised in Northern Nigeria. I went to an Islamic school and not the western type. My father is a strict and loving Muslim cleric. Of course with my father inclusive, we are a family of twenty five consisting of four mothers and nineteen siblings. I am the sixth girl among eleven and four are married. When I decided to get married I wanted to do it because I was in love and not to foster family ties or get married into a wealthy family, as some of my sisters did.
I found my mate in Musa, who was handsome, caring, a devoted Muslim and rich man. Yes, I was ready to be his wife, to the envy of other girls in my community. And so we got married, of course with my father’s consent.
I felt fulfilled. I had my own home in which I was comfortable, and a husband who cared for my every need and one whom I loved unreservedly.
This story was supposed to be happily ever after, or so I thought.
A year later, there I was, in the market when my brothers came to tell me that my father needed to speak with me urgently. With my heart in my mouth I asked “what is happening? Is Mama sick? Please do not look clueless” I pleaded. But I got no response. The instruction was to bring me to my father without delay.
My father smiled as I entered. “Sit down Zainab”, he said. “Is there anything you should have told me about Musa before you got married?”
I looked puzzled at my father, “No Baba, I told you all that I know about him, I would never lie to you” I answered.
“You are going not back to your husband’s house, Zainab,” “I have sent your uncles to investigate the report I got from your aunt, Hajara. And I expect the confirmation in the evening today”.
This discussion was going nowhere. I was becoming infuriated. I know he is my father, but what right did he have to tell me not to go back to my husband’s house. I did not elope to get married; I received consent from the man sitting across from me. Yes, my father.
“Zainab” Baba called. “Musa is HIV positive”.
‘He has been HIV positive for over a year and has been going to the General Hospital where your aunt Hajara works to get his Antiretroviral drugs.”Baba softly told me, looking into my eyes.
I sat dazed, as my father narrated the events that led to my aunt finding out about Musa’s status.
Aunt Hajara is a senior nurse at Tudun Wada General Hospital. She met Musa on our wedding day, but I now remember she had asked if they had met somewhere prior to the wedding day because he looked familiar. She had seen him at the hospital severally after we got married, and became curious when he went into the same office at every visit. After enquiries, my aunt found out from a colleague that Musa was a registered HIV patient who receives his medication from the hospital.
Aunt Hajara was bewildered. This is my niece’s husband, who has been married for a year, is Zainab also HIV positive and did not tell her parents?
My heart palpitated as I keenly listened to my father. My husband,Musa?
“How could he have done this to me”? I cried.
“We loved each other so much but not to ruin and slowly end the others’ life”. I screamed, with tears uncontrollably running down my cheeks.
All this happened two years ago. I am now the proud mother of a baby boy, Aminu.
I never went back to the home I had with Musa. My father took me for series of HIV tests which all came back negative! I waited agonizingly six months after and the tests were still negative. It is not an experience I would ever want anyone to pass through in life.
My aunt Hajara, counseled me on the importance of HIV testing before marriage and even when pregnant so as to avoid passing it on to the unborn baby.
I had to put my life together, with the help of my family. A year later, I met Jibril with whom I am now married and we have a child together.
And we were both tested before we got married and also when I became pregnant.
So how would you define love? To live with your spouse, no matter what, till death do you part?
By Hadiza C. Danlami.