NAME: Everlyne Atieno Ochieng
AGE: 42

Everlyne married Noah in 2007 and discovered she was HIV+ in 2010. Her husband had tested HIV+ in 2005, but had concealed his status from her before they were married. She only discovered he was HIV+ three years later when she realised he was taking Anti-Retroviral treatment. Everlyne became very sick and was hospitalised in 2010, when she was also diagnosed with HIV. Her CD4 count then was low, just 350, so she required life-saving treatment. Everlyne was prescribed Septrin for two years before she could start on Anti-Retroviral drugs.

Everlyne and Noah support 7 children, 4 of these children were adopted from relatives who died from AIDS related illnesses. They struggle to live on Kshs 1,000/- a day, (£7). Evelyn bakes and sells Mandazis (small doughnuts) in the market centre and cultivates cassava, maize and bananas. Noah works as a traditional herbalist. Living with poor health has put a massive strain on Everlyne and Noah. Their marriage became very unstable and Everlyne felt extremely isolated and depressed.

Everlyne joined a Mango Tree post- test club called Wayiere support group in 2011. This group helped her to come to terms with her HIV status and provided a supportive network of other people who are learning to cope with HIV/AIDS, managing their treatment programmes and rebuilding their lives.

In 2012 The Mango Tree introduced Everlyne to the food supplement, Spirulina. Spirulina is blue-green algae widely produced and commercialized as a dietary supplement for improving immune function. The Mango Tree’s model farm in Kosele produces and processes Spirulina for under nourished children and people living with HIV.

Everlyne has been supplementing her diet with Spirulina for two years now. It has boosted her immune system, body weight and nutritional status considerably. Everlyne’s CD4 count has increased from 350 in 2010 to 868 in 2014.  Everlyne and Noah have also benefited from the early maturing cassava cuttings which The Mango Tree distributed last year. It is resistant to mosaic disease and matures much more quickly so that farmers benefit from more regular harvests.  Access to regular ARV treatment, nutritional supplements and additional agricultural inputs has had a huge impact on Everlyne and Noah’s lives. They are both active and productive again and they have renewed hope for their future.