This photostory was produced by Tendayi and Cynthia Kureya; PANOS; SAFAIDS Zimbabwe and photography by Tendayi Kureya ‘Anna-Mercy coming from School.’ My name is Anna-Mercy Muteera. I am 17 years old. I am the eldest child in a family of three. My two lovely young sisters are Mitchell and Wendy. We stay at a farm in Ruwa. Ruwa is a peri-urban farming area about 35 kilometres from Harare. Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe. We stay at the farm with a couple of our relatives. ‘Anna-Mercy gathering veggies for dinner from their garden.’ ‘Anna-Mercy making dinner for her family.’ I was confused when few people came to see father when he was sick, because generally people visited each other and shared food when someone was very sick. I now know that people were afraid to visit because my father had AIDS. Mitchell and Wendy play with each other around the fire waiting for dinner ‘Anna-Mercy’s mother.’ My mother became the breadwinner after my father passed away in 2001. She worked very hard in the field but the food was not enough. She started making doilies and traded them with food and money in Mozambique. I looked after my two sisters whenever mother was away. Our life improved during the first two years. Mother made enough money to buy food and send me to school. Mother managed to work for just two year before she became ill. Travelling to Mozambique was too harsh for her as it involved walking for long distances. The hardships she was constantly exposed to made her health to deteriorate. In 2004 my mother sought help from my late father’s cousin’s brother. My uncle and his family gave us a striking welcome and invited us to stay with them at their farm. This was very unusual because many people kept their distance from the time my father got ill. My aunt helped mother get Anti-retroviral therapy. Mother recovered quickly and she is now healthy. My young sister is also on treatment. ‘Anna-Mercy (in yellow) gets some vegetables for a customer who helps her.’ We have a considerable field at the farm where we grow maize. We use the maize to prepare our staple food called ‘sadza’. We grow the maize during the rainy season. We normally grow crops that last a year. Our annual produce is approximately half a tonne. We have a big garden where we grow a wide variety of vegetables. My favourites are the greens, like Chinese cabbage and covo. We also grow beans, yams and lots of sweet potatoes. We have plenty of vegetables throughout the year – they constitute a very important part of our diet. We sell the surplus to subsidise the income we get from my uncle. I help my mother to work in the field and water the garden. I love summer because there are many wild vegetables and fruits. Summer is also good because we get lots of rain that waters our garden. Watering the garden during the dry season is very hard. ‘Anna-Mercy by the busstop. She uses public trasport to go to school.’ I am happy to be going to school and Iiving a better life. I greatly appreciate the help that I get from my extended family. I work hard and hope to make my contribution when the time comes. ‘Anna-Mercy walking to the bus stop on her way to School. The distance to the bus stop is about 1.5 kilometres.’ I have been working very hard at school. As the eldest child, I am expected to look after my siblings and my mother when I grow up. I passed my O’ Levels with good grades and I am now in Lower six. Mitchell is doing form 1, whilst Wendy is in grade 3.