Tell us about this wonder herb, Garani Mw1. How did you discover it?
It was through an HIV positive patient who suffered from Aids. He was told about the medicine in a dream. He took it and got cured. He approached several offices on this and nobody seemed to care. They could not believe him, maybe because of how he looked and because of the fact that so many similar claims had previously been made. They thought he was mad.
When he came to my office, I was keen to establish the truth about his past and present HIV status. I also wanted to verify the truth about his claims. I personally tested him and when I got the results, took him to the laboratory where someone who did not know the story did the HIV and other tests and found the same results. I took him to Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) and the results were negative just like the other two and he donated blood. This is when I was compelled to establish his true identity and verify whether indeed he had HIV before or not.
I contacted the hospital where he was getting the ARVs. I verified with the records thatÂ indeed he had HIV and had been on ART from 2005 to 2007. I further traced him to his home village to find out his true identity from his relatives. I also wanted to know his previous HIV status. His mother and sister gave all the information and this is how I got convinced that indeed this man had HIV and something had happened in his body. This took a period of two months.
The big question was â€˜Did God want only this man to be cured or could other people with the same problem get cured if they took the medicine? This marked the beginning of the journey.
Why did you agree to work on the herb? Was it for the money or did you get into it as a philanthropist?
Something told me to listen to this man and prove the truth. I knew if it was true, it could assist many people who are suffering due to the infection. Mind you, there were no money issues attached. He said that one should give any amount of money but after getting cured, they should come with a token of thanks in any form. Many people called me after a few months telling me about their healing but only three people came back.
Have you always had an interest in herbs or natural remedies?
No. I never had an interest in herbs. In the course of my work, at the District Health office (Ministry of Health) in Lilongwe, I encourage people living with HIV to take nutritive food, including vegetables and fruits. I also coordinate HIV and Aids activities in the District Health Office apart from other environmental health activities such as surveillance, prevention and control of diseases, but I never had any special interest in herbs.
Is this the only herb you have worked with?
This is the only herb that I have handled. What is surprising about this herb is that apart from the HIV, some people who do not have the virus but have other diseases like diabetes, cysts, chronic wounds, hormonal imbalance and many other ailments and conditions have testified that they were cured when they took it. This is all the reason why there is need for more research to be done on this herb.
How hasÂ working on the drug impacted on you?
It has had a great impact on my life. I work with people in the communities in health related issues. There are times when I go into the community and it happens that when I see a person showing signs of this disease, I get moved and am compelled to tell them about the herb.
If they believe my story, I give them the herb.Â Sometimes I feel I might be meeting this person for the last time, yet I know I have something that might be of assistance to them. It is always amazing to meet that same person a while later, looking healthy and having gone back to their normal duties.
It is wonderful to see a person who was at a verge of death getting up and about, fending for themselves once again. It hits me hard when the patient is a child who acquired it from parents. My wish is to give the herb to children, especially orphans so that they are free of the virus. They are innocent souls who did not do anything to deserve it. I am treating this as an emergency.
Tell us about the touching cases you have encountered as you work with Garani Mw1…
A lot of cases have touched me. Each time a single person comes back with an HIV diagnosis, I get excited as if itâ€™s the first time. I do not take any of it for granted. One case involved an old lady who was diabetic, had poor eye sight and her legs were painful and swollen all the time. She could not walk without using crutches.Â I gave her a lift home. I told her about the herb and gave her a pack. A few months later, she called me to take her to Kamuzu Central Hospital. I was surprised to see her walking upright without the crutches. She did not have her glasses either. Her legs were no longer swollen. I took her to the hospital to be tested for diabetes and poor eyesight. All ailments had gone.Â Though she did not have the HIV, her life was not the same. I also met a 20-year-old girl who had multiple ailments. She was HIV positive. She could not do anything without assistance, let alone going to the toilet. Because of this, her mother was unable to do income generating activities. Now, she is HIV negative. The girl does business to support her family.
What has the response been since NOS published your story?
The response has been really overwhelming. Interestingly, now that the story has been published, there are some people who are now telling stories of getting HIV negative results after taking the herb a while ago.
You are working on an Master of Public Health degree, what is your area of specialisation?
I am specialising in epidemiology. My area of interest in research is about a new approach that when used can help to reduce diarrhoea disease prevalence in the communities in Lilongwe district. Diarrhoea ranks third among the three top killers of under five children in Sub Saharan countries which includes Malawi. Studies have shown that 14% of outpatient visits and 16% of hospital admissions are due to diarrhoea and unsafe drinking water. After this study, my research will definitely focus on what else Garani Mw1 herb can do.
Tell us a bit about you growing up…
There were eight children in the family. Now, only six of us remain. These are Joe, Margaret, I, Mercy, Ricky the last born Georgina Constance. Because my father worked with Malawi Railways and my mother was a teacher, we stayed in several places. Of these, I vividly recall living in Nansadi (Thyolo), Salima, Liwonde then Kanengo, Lilongwe. My parents instilled different values in me but one thing in particular was to be respectful to everyone around me. They taught me to be thankful for everything good that someone does to me. Each time I was given something, my parents told me to kneel and say â€˜thank you very much.â€™ They taught us as a family to be respectful to the elderly and everybody around us, no matter what their status was. They taught me to wake up early and work hard in everything.
How about your immediate family?
I am married to Martin Jeremiah who also comes from Ntcheu district, Kamphanje Village, T.A. Njolomole. He is currently studying for his masters at Bunda College. We have two children. Sarah is 16 and is currently studying Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic, University of Malawi.Â Joshua 13 and is currently schooling at Kings Foundation in Ntcheu.
Sometimes women stagnate once they get married and have children.Â What would you say to this?
Getting married and having children is not all a woman has to do. Development comes from within. No man can develop another. Women should know that not many husbands will allow a wife to go for further studies as easily as you can imagine. You really need to push your way through, knowing that you are also setting a standard to your children. You will be surprised how much he will praise you after when you have achieved the intended goal!
Who inspires you?
My mum inspired me very much. She was all I used to admire. She was a hard worker and persistent in every task she undertook.
What has life taught you?
I have learnt that hard times will always come along. It is, therefore, important to think critically on how you can make the best out of the situation.
How do you relax?
I take a long refreshing bath, a pedicure and have my nails done.
What are some of the things that you absolutely love and cannot do without?
I cannot do without Jesus Christ. He is the one who has seen me through in everything that I have passed through as far as my life is concerned. For everything to work according to your desire, it needs prayer and even fasting. The journey has no destination if the Holy Spirit is not leading.
What are your hopes and fears for your family?
I hope to leave a legacy for my family when all about the herb is completed. At present, I want to be available for my husband and children since they are all at school and need my support. I do not want to lose concentration on the remaining part of my studies.