By Esther Kwaku
A RADIO. A dream. A BIG inspiration.
Her husband told her she was worthless and that she should "go away and die". Depressed and at her lowest point she did just that - she started planning her suicide, to the point where she actually calculated how and when she would do it - by drinking pesticides a neighbour often stored at her home...and on a Saturday so that people would be around to find her body.
Margret had had a string of bad news. She'd previously fallen ill believing she had malaria. When she went to get checked out the doctor delivered earth-rocking news that she was HIV positive. That wasn't just it - an adverse reaction to medication put her in a coma and when she woke up, her hair had fallen out and she had lost her sight.
(At this point I'm aghast at what she's telling me).
I mean, could you just imagine?
So she's now being told that she's useless and after hearing this nonstop she decides to take her own life.
In the same week she was planning to do it she happened to switch on her local radio and heard a local DJ talking about what it was like to live with HIV and with a disability. Her jaw dropped. She thought she was alone! She grabbed a friend and ran down to the station to meet this DJ to see if he was real. And he was. His name was Dick Bugembe and he runs a local organisation (MADIPHA) who supports disabled people living positively. People like Margret.
“That was the last time I ever thought of myself as alone”
Fast forward to today and Margret is now a champion in her community who seeks and finds other people with disabilities affected by HIV and AIDS. She supports them, bringing them under the umbrella of wellbeing that MADIPHA provides - healthcare, counselling, advice and community.
And guess who is the now their Vice Chairperson?
Because quite frankly, she's badass.
It just goes to show what happens when you elevate people.
So where does Nerve come in? Well, Margret...because she's Margret - audacious, delightfully determined and empowered - is now on a mission which means we're going to help her. She never wants to go back to where she was...nor does she ever want others to go through what she went through. She's got a little business rearing chickens, so that keeps her going but it's not enough really for a woman of her newfound brazenness. She wants to build a farm and open a learning resource centre where she can teach deafblind children and young people how to set up their own enterprising activities. Genius! She's nailed it with this idea because it's so needed.
You read my story about Dorothy? Well, Margret is another reason why I do what I do.
I don't tend to use the word 'hero' often but Margret is truly one of mine. One of my most favourite people on this planet. And she's so funny. She has this delicious, infectious giggle, if you met her I'd be surprised if you weren't collapsed in fits of laughter within the first few minutes. This woman gives me life.
Anyway, at the end of our chat she puts her hand on mine and says to me "Do you think I can really do this? Do you think I can reach my goal?"
I tell yes, of course she can. Because she's pure gold...
...and We Got Nerve.
I'm so glad you know about her now.