Wanyama using HIV POSITIVE status to transform lives

Wanyama using HIV POSITIVE status to transform lives

Wanyama using HIV POSITIVE status to transform lives

Living with HIV AIDS is a scourge tormenting not only to the body and mind of the infected but to those around the patient as well. If not well managed HIV status can lead to either stigmatization of self or painful regret and sideline by society. Over the years, the talk of HIV has slowly transgressed from being a taboo in society to being a course worth acceptance, public discussion and social engagement if one has to live longer positively.

Wanyama Nelson is one such victim who lives positively with HIV AIDS.Wanyama is a former footballer and a name many followers of football would easily remember. He was the winning captain of the defunct Eldoret KCC FC in 1997- winners of the then Moi Golden Cup, a win that saw them qualify to the CAF Cup but were eventually eliminated on post match penalties by Olivier FC of Mozambique.

A father of three sons: Bernard, Brian and Rooney, Wanyama or (Manyaks) as he was commonly known to his peers went to Lubinu Primary school in Mumias then joined Lodwar high school before shifting his base to Kapset High school where he sat his final KCSE. While at Kapset High school he was scouted by the then soccer power house Eldoret KCC and started Playing for them while still in his third form. He formerly joined Eldoret KCC in 1989 and was subsequently permanently employed by them.Unfortunately lost the same job sooner than later.

“In 1997 I lost my Job at KCC due to the industrial strike that had been called by our union and therefore had to rely on soccer as my only pay Job. I made my first professional switch to Shabana FC which was playing in the newly introduced premier league in 1998-1999 seasons.” He said.

A year later, he moved to join Pan Paper FC in Webuye in the 2000-2001 seasons. He later changed his professional boots for a coaching course in Dareesalam Tanzania conducted then by FIFA instructors and attained a Futuro Level 11 category diploma certificate.

“Immediately after I got my first coaching Job with Nandi Tea Estate team and I led them to become the third best nationwide team between 2003-2004.”

This was the point his body started becoming sick dictated by the cold climatic conditions in the high altitude Nandi region.

“When I could not take it anymore I opted to go back to my native land of Mumias where I took up a coaching role at Lubinu High School. In the same year of the 2003 I lost my wife due to a mysterious disease I could not explain and no one came out clear to explain to me. Fingers started pointing and rumors going around about the course her death but I opted to ignore them as just idle rumor mongers.

But as time went on I became weaker and weaker and when I became more informed of the symptoms that my wife had exhibited prior to her death I came out of my denial and went for a tormenting HIV test which confirmed my worst fears, I WAS HIV POSITIVE.” He paused silently….

“I looked at the world and it looked empty, back then stigmatization was real and support groups were hard to come by. After a few months of struggling, I decided to come out in the open and talk about my status, My heart sunk for the many footballers living reckless sexual lives, I wanted to go back and talk to some of them. I had to stay strong for them and that was the beginning of a new journey for me, I have lost friends most of them fellow footballers through this HIV and AIDS scourge .This was a huge motivating factor for me to come out and speak about my status and share with the rest of the world especially soccer players..

Manyaks is now a peer educator and together with Tackle Africa they have translated a lot of football terms into reproductive teaching jargons.

“My hope is that as long as God would give me time on this world, I would endeavor to speak to as many young people as possible. I also work with (SAIPEH) Support Activities in Poverty Eradication and Health an NGO based in Mumias town as a sports Coordinator and HIV & AIDS is a big component in our teachings.” He added.

Wanyama’s parting message to the new crop of sports people especially the young ones is “To change your behavior if you are not married please, please, please abstain, if you really must then protect yourself. I have lived with the virus since 2003, it is normal for one to live a normal life, I have done it you can do it, my vision is to see many other athletes in my shoes come out so that we can form  support group specifically tailored towards supporting our fellow sports people.”

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