Wednesday, December 6, 2006

"There Is No Me Without You"

When we lost power for most of the day on Sunday and I spent a lot of that time curled up under a blanket (we had no heat)while the kids veg'ed in front of a movie on the laptop, wearing layers of clothes and cuddling under blankets. (Z-Man jokes that we should always keep the house very cold…it’s the only time the girls get along!) With nothing else to do, I finally had time to just sit and read. I've been meaning to read the highly recommended book, “There Is No Me Without You” by Melissa Fay Greene, for quite a while but haven't had the uninterrupted time to just sit and absorb such a crucial topic.

This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the plight of the children orphaned by the disease. It follows the story of a middle aged Ethiopian woman as she finds herself in the middle of a life a death struggle to save a few of the estimated 4 million children orphaned in Ethiopia alone. 4 million! That is a staggering number; I can’t even fathom it. Children are raising children. No one feeds them, no one tucks them into bed, and no one makes their lunch and sends them off to school.

In the book the author asks you to imagine that this has happened in your town. That your child comes home from school to an empty house…no parents, they are all gone, dead. No next door neighbors, no aunts and uncles, no grandparents to step in and help. What would they do, where would they go? It’s terrifying. I could suddenly see my children with no one to help them and for the first time, I truly understood the face of this disaster. It came home to me.

The book also lets us peek in and catch glimpses of Ethiopian culture. We learn about their history, their religions, and their customs. We get to see some hope; children saved by newly available AIDS medication, children adopted to foreign homes. We see the few lucky ones who find someone to care for them, about them.

What I really took away from this book is awareness. We, in the western world, have put HIV on the back burner because it no longer affects us. Because we can afford the expensive, life saving drugs that make having HIV into a chronic illness instead of a fatal one, we turn our backs and our minds from those places that can’t.

Every child deserves parents and since adopting 4 million children is not possible, we need to find a way to help save their parents.

Click on the image to go to the website and find out how you can help


jeneflower said...

That sounds like an amazing book. I will have to check it out.

chou-chou said...

I just finished this book last week, and it was amazing -- I agree with you about it completely.

I plan on giving it to several people for Christmas this year.

But you've inspired me to also post a link to it from my blog... great idea!

Rhonda said...

I've heard great things about this book. I'll have to pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Just had to chime in - Wonderful book. I read it and could not put it down!