I worked with a kind German lady when I first became sick in 1986 and she took me to the hospital, understanding that I was suffering of trauma. I had suffered with bad headaches for a time and then I found that I could not hear things. I became confused and did not know where I was or what I was doing. I shaved my hair and talked without understanding the words.
I was treated in the hospital and given medication by the doctors. (I still need medicine now. Even with it I still become confused sometimes.) My husband, who had cared for me, died in 1993 and I became more sick and hopeless. My daughter also became ill. The home we had was burned in the 1994 genocide, so we had nowhere to live and no food.
My neighbour Vincent is a good man and for many years he has helped me as much as he can. The years have been long and heavy. Some time later we were given a cow and then could get a little money from the sale of milk and we found a place to live, although it is only half built.
In 2011 Vincent formed a NOUSPR group in our village and asked me to join. I immediately began to feel more human and comfortable with the other members. We support each other, for example reminding each when to go to get new medicine, we help each other and share our experiences. We plan to provide each member with a pig and jointly save to do this, many already have one. We have been supplied with sewing machines by NOUSPR head office and we work together to sew suits and clothes for sale. This provides a little income for the group, which we share. We make all our decisions together and everyone contributes whatever they are able.
I am now a Patient Expert and have helped our members facing a crisis or those who are new to the group. As well as providing practical assistance , it is important to show them that it is possible to be well again and do normal things like other people. I understand myself so much more now so that I can reach out to others, which brings me great joy. Also I am better able to care for my daughter now so we both benefit. Joining the NOUSPR group was a life changing event for me and I am willing to do whatever I can to help my group and the organisation grow and reach out to others, and to help us do activities to earn a little more money which we all need.