February 28, 2024

My name is Muhammad Danjuma. I am 32 years old and I would like to share my #DivorceDiaries with you.

I married Juwairiyya in 2012 after a courtship of about 9 months. She was the apple of my eye and I had no doubt she would make me happy. I was working with NLNG in Bonny at the time and I was able to give my wife a comfortable life. Juwairiyya and I set up house in Abuja while I shuttled between Bonny and Abuja. I did 2 weeks in Bonny and two weeks in Abuja. Our first year was tumultuous because Juwairiyya always complained that she was tired of being alone. The more I tried to do the less understanding she became… Things got so bad I dreaded my 2 weeks in Abuja.We fought constantly. I always tried to remind her that the nature of my job would not permit me to stay at home all day or in Abuja.

After our first anniversary things seemed to get better. And we both tried to do better by each other. Expectation in my place for a baby starts a day after your wedding. People expect a baby’s cry exactly 9 months after your wedding. Personally I was beginning to worry.. But Juwairiyya seemed unperturbed. I wanted us to go see a doctor but she always refused. It didn’t help that my mother was constantly on my case about seeing her grandchildren… I kept telling her to wait for Gods time. Although I was worried,I didn’t want to make Juwairiyya feel bad by insisting on going to the hospital,I didn’t want to fight again. So I figured the best solution would be to have as much sexual intercourse with my wife as possible to ensure maximum chances. As an engineer well,I have a tendency to think in terms of solutions… So I set about doing what I had to do. So you can only imagine my frustration when 6 months into my solution there was no sign of pregnancy. Was I shooting blanks?

Yahaya my friend advised me to go to the hospital and know what was the problem once and for all.His suggestion made sense. At least I would know my true position whether impotent or not. My friend was surprised. He was surprised that I didn’t think it was my wife’s fault. So when I got back to Abuja I fought and fought Juwairiyya for four days before she finally gave in. She agreed to go with me to hospital. Hmmm if only I had known. We were asked to do a wide range of tests. We were told to come back for the test results in 3 days. Juwairiyya seemed tense and uneasy when the Doctor said this. And even when we got home she was still not herself. I did my best to reassure her.. I told her I didn’t really care about the results,I just wanted to know our position. At night she was tossing and turning and having night mares. I was concerned about this behaviour but she would not give me an answer. By the third day I was fed up and I demanded an answer from her. “J why are you acting up? It’s just tests,haba relax”.And she was silent. She refused to answer me. I was angry as we drove to the hospital. What was so bad that she couldn’t tell me?

As we sat in the doctors office my wife was shaking like a leaf in the harmattan wind. Dr Umar said: “Nothing seems to be wrong with both of you. Everything seems fine” And my wife sighed a huge sigh. I was confused. “But it seems that both of you are HIV positive,are you taking ARVs? You ought to have disclosed this to me” I was stunned. HIV? Both of us? I stared at my wife. She was so pale. I echoed the words again. How could both of us be HIV+??? I told the doctor there was a mistake. Then Juwairiyya started talking: “I have been HIV positive honey,I just didn’t know how to tell you. I was HIV + when we got married”.”I really wanted to tell you baby I really just did not know how. Please understand” I was not sure what she wanted me to understand. I wanted to strangle her with all my might but I was just so weak. So weak. Who on earth had I been married to? What the hell?. She was crying and sobbing while the doctor counseled us about living with HIV. Not that any of us was listening to him. I walked out of that hospital and I have not seen Juwairiyya since then.

I went straight to her fathers house and wrote a divorce. Why me? How could someone be so wicked? And she expected me to understand ? How? I didn’t leave because of the HIV,I left because I could not bear to stay married to someone who had lied and deceived me! About a month before we got married fa we went and did HIV and Genotype test! I had to return to Bonny so she went and got the result

It is obvious that she faked the result! She lied to me and deliberately left me to get infected. I was suicidal. It has been a very very hard road for me. I am now slowly adapting to my situation. I am on ARVs now.

Thank you for reading my #DivorceDiaries. I hope you will learn from my terrible experience.

Thank you for reading my story. I hope my fellow women will learn from my experience.

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Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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