Left to right: Jean Ostrom, Past President Petawawa Grannies; Sheila Green, Ottawa-Gatineau Liaison; Ida Mukuka Nambeya; Esther Gaudet, Petawawa Grannies President; Patricia Elford, Petawawa Grannies and editor of the Grandmothers’ Necklace Anthology; Hilda Young, Petawawa Grannies Publicity; and Sarah Dopp, Community Campaign Manager, Stephen Lewis Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Petawawa Grannies host “An afternoon with Ida”


Posted on Thursday August 2, 2018

The Petawawa Grannies were pleased to host Ida Mukuka Nambeya, Senior Advisor for the Stephen Lewis foundation for a tea and information presentation at the Petawawa Silver Threads Seniors Club.

Forty guests from Deep River, Petawawa, Pembroke, Kanata and Ottawa attended the event. Sarah Dopp, Community Campaigns Manager for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, escorted Ida. Sheila Green, Ottawa Gatineau Region Co-Liaison,  also attended.

Petawawa was Ida’s only local stop for this trip. She had recently returned to Canada from burying her father in Africa.

Ida gave a PowerPoint presentation of her work in Africa, which she expanded verbally with stories to illustrate her points.  She is a good example of what support from Canada can achieve as she told us that she is HIV positive. Both her brother and husband died of Aids prior to 2005. In the intervening years she has brought up two children with family support and had a demanding career as a Field Representative for the Stephen Lewis foundation. She remarried a few years ago.

In 2013, she lost her mother and this spring, her father. She has defied the odds and by following medical advice, she has thrived. 
Ida acknowledged the support of Stephen Lewis in her own life as he helped her with schooling at St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia. When she received her diploma, she returned to Africa to work as a Field Representative for nine years then became a Senior Consultant.

Ida’s story is featured on page 289 of the book “Powered by Love” published last year about the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Ida tells the story of going to school in Canada. It was the first time she had been on a plane, and she was not used to raw food and boiled her salads. Now she is used to Canadian food as she travels regularly between Canada and Africa.

One of her stories about how life has changed for the grandmothers over the last decade tells of their ability to be proud of their achievements. Originally the women sat on the floor at a gathering, as that is what they were used to. However now they take chairs and want to be front and centre.

With support from the Canadian grandmothers they have managed to overcome stigma and stand up for their rights. Ida cautioned that help is still needed, as the anti-viral drugs have to be taken daily. If the drug and food regime is not followed, then people get sick.

The Global fund helps pay for the drugs but there is a demand for medicine for malaria, TB, and cancer as well as HIV-Aids. Both Ida and Sarah Dopp encouraged our group to continue fundraising and advocating for the grandmothers.

Our group presented Ida and Sarah with copies of Grandmothers’ Necklace, an anthology created by Patricia Elford of  the Petawawa Grannies, and pens made locally from Canadian maple wood by Derrick Smith, a friend of one of our Petawawa Grannies members. Donations were gratefully received by the Petawawa Grannies.