The distinguished author of Praying for Sheetrock and two-time National Book award finalist puts a human face on the AIDS crisis in Africa.
When Haregwoin Teferras husband and 23-year-old daughter died within a few years of each other, her middle-class life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was shattered. Bereft and with little to live for, Haregwoin became a recluse. Her self-imposed exile to a hut near her daughters grave was interrupted when a priest delivered first one, then another, orphaned teenager into her care. To everyones surprise, the children thrived, and so did Haregwoin. As word spread, children of all ages began to appear at her modest home: an infant brought by a dying mother, an orphaned brother and sister whose grandfather was too poor to feed them, a baby left on her doorstep. Haregwoins small compound became known as the rare place where ailing parents and impoverished families could safely leave their children. Soon Haregwoin was caring for sixty children, running an unofficial orphanage and day school, and learning first-hand about her countrys and her continents greatest challenge: the AIDS pandemic that is leaving millions of children without parents to care for them.
With the flair and grace of a novelist and the reportorial instincts of a seasoned journalist, Melissa Fay Greene gets to the heart of the AIDS crisis, in a story that is nevertheless one of hope. There Is No Me Without You is the story of Haregwoin and her children: a story of struggle and despair, but also of the triumph of saved lives, and the renewed happiness of children welcomed by adoptive parents in Ethiopia, America, and around the world. Haregewoins remarkable story convinces us that the crisis in Africa touches every one of us in some fundamental way. At heart, this book is about children and the parents they need to care for them.
On a dim, clattering afternoon in the rainy season, I sat in a crowded living room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, stupefied by water. The rain drumming the tin roofs of the hillside district was deafening, as if neighbors on rooftops banged with kettles and sticks. The mud yard boiled and popped in the downpour. Through the wide-open front door, I watched arriving visitors leap across stepping-stones slick with clay. At the doorstep of Haregewoin Teferras two-room brick housean earthier, leakier dwelling than the modern two-story stucco house shed once enjoyedthe men took off their hats and shook them and the women wrung out their shawls. Though Haregewoin was sliding further every day from her former middle-class standing, a dozen old friends opted to sit out the cloudburst with hersome as a sign of loyalty, some probably to see what she was going to do next. Despite misgivings about whom they might find among her ...
More than 13 million children have been orphaned by AIDS
in Africa; UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) predicts that
by 2010 25-50 million African children under the age of 15 will be orphaned; in
a dozen African countries, up to a quarter of the nation's children will be
When Melissa Fay Green started to research There Is No Me Without You she was driven by a simple question: Who will raise the millions of children currently orphaned, let alone the generations to come? Who will pack them school lunches? Who will comfort them when they have nightmares? Who will help millions of children avoid lines of servitude and prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of their culture and religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them to grow up to make the right choices for their own lives?
The answer is not many - but there are some, In There is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children, Greene puts a human face on this overwhelming tragedy by focusing on one imperfect woman, Haregwoin Teferra, who in the face of her own tragedy found the strength to take in orphans, both HIV-positive and negative and since then has given hope and a home to dozens, if not hundreds of children. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1205 words).
A Short History of Ethiopia
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (historically known as Abyssinia) is located in east Africa, on the "Horn of Africa" (map). Once an important trade route due to its location on the Red Sea, it has been landlocked since 1993, when the province of Eritrea gained independence. It is the oldest independent country in Africa (and is unique in that it was never colonized), the second-oldest official Christian nation (after Armenia) and one of the 51 original members of the United Nations. Its capital is Addis Ababa (pronounced ah-deece ah-bah-bah). With a landmass a little over twice the size of Texas and a population of about 75 million, it is the third most populous country in Africa ...
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