Monday, December 1, 2008

AIDS HIV Africa BloggersUnite


Can you 'see' Aids in Africa?

Following the call of AIDS.gov and BlogCatalogs BloggersUnite Action to post about HIV/AIDS I'll share some direct impressions (& photos) from Malawi Africa. I can do this as some of my children are and have been working there in rural areas for two years and have been interacting with the people right on the ground among the rural masses.
To summize this post:
AIDS is not just a disease that kills people,
it's a danger for a society in itself.
Tags (or whatever) for this post can be for example:
"Health, Africa, Society, Aids, HIV, Development."


First, some words about this action.
December 1st, is World Aids Day. ( #WAD08 ). Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV. In the United States an estimated one million Americans are living with HIV. AIDS.gov is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Blog Catalog for Bloggers Unite on World AIDS Day 2008. This event encourages bloggers from around the world to dedicate their blog posts on December 1, 2008 (World AIDS Day) to issues related to HIV/AIDS.


Malawi is a beautiful country with beautiful people
like other African countries.
View from mount Mulanje (all photos by my children).

The Tuchila River

White people are interesting.
An European tourist who visited the country, the national parks etc. said: "We've been now around for 28 days in Africa, but I've seen no one with AIDS."

Some tourists that come to Africa even think that AIDS is just a fairytale, because they haven't seen anyone with AIDS.

Yes, when looking outside the Adventure-Africa-Safari-Busses you can not see that children are infected.
From a letter of my daughter: "The people that got infected with AIDS haven't got that written on their foreheads. If you shake someones hand, take a child into your arms, you don't know if that person or that child got AIDS.

And also when you get to know people from the country, they don't greet you with:
"Hey I am Chisomo and I have AIDS."

When you live among the people, and when you check it, how many people in the villages are dying, THEN you realize that AIDS is no fairy tale.

The carpenters are constantly busy with the construction of coffins for adults and children. There are many 'Coffin workshops'. Mostly you see a dilapidated sign on a simple house where someone is busy to saw a tree with an old saw.

The immune system of people that got infected with AIDS is so bad, that they die of more or less serious illnesses like, for example, pneumonia.
Newspapers report like this:
"The (famous) singer of this or that African Music Band has died because of pneumonia". They won't mention AIDs, 'AIDS' is still a tabu-word.

So ... a lot of people are dying, mostly under 40 years of age. Many of those people are parents. They leave children behind. Children without AIDS, children with AIDS.
This leads to a society where there are lots of children and adults are few. Therefore some speak of Malawi as a 'state of children' because half of the population is under 15 years old. Imagine that!

Many rural areas remain inertia, because the parents no longer had the opportunities to share their knowledge. The orphans usually find shelter at some 'other relatives'. Those 'other relatives' are grandparents or older siblings', people who cannot pay school fees.

AIDS is thus not simply a problem in Malawi (or Africa), which leads to many sick and suffering people, it is a problem which is changing the whole structure of society and especially to the detriment of children.
However, there are already many programs that try to tackle this problem (eg development programs, education programs, AIDS support groups, etc.). There are helpers.

So what does it mean for a country to have lots of people that suffer from AIDS?

It means:
* People don't get old. They just die away.
* A lack of older people.
* Less help in families.
* Less grandparents can help in caring for children.
* Less teachers.
* Less workers.
* Less thinkers.
* Less experience.
* and you can continue this list ...

---
Facing AIDS - World AIDS day 2008

24 comments:

SimplyForties said...

What an excellent post. I Stumbled you - great job.

Vince said...

great report, thank you.

Bean said...

Thank you for sharing your story and your pictures. It is so important to put a face to this epidemic.
I would very much like to include a link to your post at a blog carnival that I am creating to compile some of the wonderful posts that bloggers are making today.
You can see some of them at http://wonderfulweb.info/blogging/world-aids-day-personal

a.eye said...

Great ending with what it means for the society. Stumbled.

lifethinking said...

Great post, I have dugg it, and submit it to my very long blog roll on Babeltalk.net

Anonymous said...

Great! Fascinating pics! Thanks from Nairobi :-)Petra

Marvia said...

Thanks for sharing Wil. The pictures tell a powerful story also. Loved the comment from the tourist, they don't 'see' anyone with AIDS. As if they were at a zoo for something!

Lifecruiser said...

Wow! This is a killer post! Awesome written and photos. Love the ending with the society touch. Well done indeed!

Clement said...

Wow! This is a nice post. The pics are great.Many thanks to Petra for her input.I really like you, people. You are doing a lot for Malawi. Wishing you all the best in everything that you do.

Sharon said...

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