Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Must Read

Friends . . . you definitely need to read this book!

I know that HIV/AIDS is personal to us now, which is why I read this book in the first place . . . it was part of our education to be approved to adopt a child with HIV.

But other than knowing us and our journey to Easton, HIV might not actually be personal to you.  This might be a book that you would NEVER pull off the shelf.

But you should.  Because it will change you.

The brilliant author uncovers the AIDS crisis in Africa with a wealth of history and information, but at the same time with a vivid picture of the cultures and the people that contribute to and are effected by this epidemic.

She deals with issues of injustice, poverty, love, orphans, culture, government, drug companies, activists, prostitutes . . . all through 28 stories of real individuals in the fight against the disease that threatens the very fabric of society in Africa.

I learned so much that I didn't know.  Things I now can't believe that I wasn't taught or haven't been told.  I cried often, became furious, got overwhelmed, but ended with a resolve to join the fight.

I checked this out from the library (notice all my sticky notes since I couldn't underline!), but after reading it I knew I wanted my own copy.  I ordered it from Amazon and got a perfect condition used copy for just $1.50 plus tax!  You won't regret getting this book!

Here are a few stand out quotes to get you ready to read . . .

"Some make for painful reading.  Many of the people I meet wage a daily struggle to stay alive.  All of them have suffered a level of loss of which I can barely conceive.  They have been betrayed by their lovers and their families and their neighbors and their governments.  AIDS has robbed them of much more than health." pg. 17

"Inevitably, serial orphans became something else:  little "families" of children living on their own because there was no one left to take them in.  In the bland language of AIDS, they are called child-head households, a term that does nothing to convey the surreal quality of a nine-year-old gathering firewood, cooking, washing and telling bedtime stories to the seven-, five-, three- and one-year-old left, by default, in her charge. . . . An estimated fourteen million children across Africa have been left without parents because of AIDS."  pg. 35

"He thought about his most recent speaking tour in the United States, where he was told about a cat with kidney problems on dialysis, saw a massive sport utility vehicle with built-in DVD players, heard that the leading epidemic in the country was obesity.  "And here I am stuck with Jennifer and Joyce in my office as they wish they had the most serious and fatal disease to have hit the world so they can get 80 cents every week (from a support group for those with AIDS)."  pg. 222

A quote from Nelson Mandela and his wife, "We live in a world where the AIDS pandemic threatens the very fabric of our life, yet we spend more money on weapons than for the support for the millions infected by HIV.  It is a world of great promise and hope.  It is also a world of despair, disease and hunger.  Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity; it is an act of justice."  . . . 'I find it very difficult to understand how those who have the power to make resources available to save the lives of people can hesitate - they can't afford to hesitate." pg. 328

And that just skims the surface . . . a must read!!

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