Sina is the second wife of Ly… his first wife died of AIDS related causes and left him with a young girl to care for. Ly was also HIV positive but knew if others found out about it, it would be very difficult to find another wife… and so he kept it a secret.
Sina didn’t like Ly at first but after he visited her house a couple of times she fell in love with him and got married, against her families wishes. They tried to conceive but were unsuccessful. Ly eventually got sick and that is when he told Sina about his being HIV Positive. She was tested and found to be Positive as well.
Like many women in Cambodia, Sina stuck by her man and eventually she also became sick with Tuberculosis. That is about the time they showed up at our community. They stayed for awhile after starting Anti-Retro-Viral therapy and began improving. Ly helped out with the gardening and raising of animals while Sina began caring for some of our younger children and started a small coffee shop. She was the primary care giver for Baby Mia before her death, and that had a huge impact on her life.
After Baby Mai died Sina wanted even more to have her own child but being HIV Positive, it was to dangerous and I and others told her so. They were able to save their money and a few months later left for Phnom Penh to start a new life. Ly had a job in a bakery and Sina worked in a garment factory and it looked like things were going to work out for them… but a few months later Sina returned looking frail. She said the work in the garment factory was to much for her and she needed a place to stay just until she regained her strength. I agreed to let her stay for two weeks but no longer because I didn’t want her to give up on living outside of our community.
The two weeks passed but her condition didn’t improve and she started getting nauseated in the mornings. They let me figure it out for myself and when I did I was a bit upset with them because they knew I would now not be able to ask her to leave. Ly moved back onto campus and resumed his work while Sina started up her coffee shop again.
It was 12:30 in the morning when I heard some commotion outside. Ly asked for the motorcycle so that he could take his wife to the hospital. They left a short time later but were told at the local health clinic that they would have to go to the Takeo Hospital… a two hour drive further down the road. The baby was born a few hours after their arrival and was given the medicine that would keep it from becoming HIV Positive.
None of us are to sure just where this is all leading… but for the time being all concerned are doing well and even I have learned once again that just because things don’t always go as I planned them to, doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t have a positive ending… or in this case a Negative one.
Wayne Dale Matthysse