HIV and AIDS have ravaged her community and her country, causing the average life expectancy in Swaziland to plummet to a scant 32 years. In 2007, the Swazi government conducted random testing and found that an estimated one in four residents is infected with HIV.
"I am happy to have lived to see and take care of my grandchildren," Nkhomose says. "However, of the six children I had, four passed away. I am only left with two, who are both married."
Nkhomose lives in a community in Nkalashane, supported by World Vision donors in Australia. But she didn't always live there.
"We used to have our home next to the Mbuluzi River. However, in 1983, a sugar company relocated at least nine homesteads to where we are today," she says.
This forced relocation was to make way for expanding sugar cane production. In Swaziland, sugar has become known as "real Swazi Gold" because it is the country's major source of foreign revenue.
Sadly, no one was there to defend the families' rights when the sugar company forced them to move. "We were not given any kind of compensation — only temporary shelter in the form of caravans," Nkhomose explains. "These were meant to assist us reconstruct our homes at our own cost."
After the move, things didn't get any easier. "When we were adjusting to this new environment, my husband, Gobondela Sifundza, passed away," she says.
Nkhomose was left to single-handedly take care of her children and grandchildren, who range in age from 5 to 20. Several of them were sick at the time.
"We used to plant maize for survival. However, we have had a continuous problem of inconsistent rain. I cannot recall when last we had a meaningful harvest," she explains.
Due to several failed crops, the family ran out of resources to get their fields planted. "Many times, we have been forced to go to bed on an empty stomach," she says.
But Nkhomose was resourceful. "In order to meet the family's basic needs, I would travel to the nearest sugar cane fields at Vuvulane Irrigated Farm, where I would request some farmers to give me a portion to weed in exchange for food," she says.
Nkhomose did this for more than a year before her energy wore thin. She could no longer travel to Vuvulane to work in exchange for food, but she was determined to provide for her grandchildren.
"I requested households that sold traditional beer brewed out of sorghum to give me the waste sorghum. I would dry and grind it to prepare thin porridge for my grandchildren," she explains.
Sorghum waste from beer production is commonly used to feed pigs because it is thought to be of no other use. But for Nkhomose's family, it was food.
>> Pray that God would sustain Nkhomose and her grandchildren as well as those in similar situations in Swaziland and other areas of beleaguered Southern Africa. Pray also for caring adults to look after the children who have been orphaned because of AIDS.
>> Sponsor a child in a community affected by AIDS. You can help provide the child with care, nutrition, education, and hope for the future.
>> Provide nutritious food and agricultural assistance to children around the world who need it most, like Nkhomose's grandchildren in Swaziland.
>> Speak out for AIDS-affected children. Add your name to our Make Your Mark for Children petition to ask Congress to swiftly reauthorize the global AIDS bill and ensure that 10 percent of all global AIDS funds be used to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
In The News
|:: Relief efforts intensify amid immense suffering across parched Horn of Africa|
|:: U.S. schools, students get helping hand in tough economy|
|:: VIDEO: Sponsor's bond with child makes world a little smaller|
|:: Six months after quake, tsunami, Japan battles long-term effects|