Sunday, July 22, 2007

Smarty Sunday Book Recommendation!

In light of myself going through a crisis yesterday, I had to skip Smarty Saturday... so today, I bring you a Smarty Sunday Book Recommendation!
I recently read There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Faye. This is the true story of how an Ethiopian woman, in the midst of her own personal crisis, made a difference (and continues to make a difference) for countless children orphaned by AIDS.
Haregewoin Teferra was a middle-class Ethiopian woman, living a fairly comfortable life. She and her husbands had two daughters who they loved very much... the seemingly perfect family! But the family's world was shattered when Haregewoin's husband died suddenly of a heart attack. Haregewoin was still grieving her husband, when her 23-year-old daughter became seriously ill! Haregewoin put her grieving aside so that she could nurse her daughter, but the daughter died also. In despair, Haregewoin decided to go into seclusion... basically, she was deciding to shut herself off from the rest of the world, and spend her days grieving her husband and daughter.
Instead, a church leader asked Haregewoin to care for a teenage street kid, a young girl who had been orphaned by AIDS. This was at a time when AIDS was such a taboo in Africa, nobody would even say the word! Those who had AIDS were shunned, and once they died, their spouses, relatives and even their children were shunned too. There were many, many children trying to survive on their own because their parents had died of AIDS, and nobody was willing to take them in.
Haregewoin agreed to take the girl in. After all, what did she have to lose? Shortly thereafter, she was asked to take a teenage boy in similar circumstances. Then, two six-year-old girls. Then, four more children. As word spread that Haregewoin was willing to take in children, more and more kids came. Some were delivered ceremoniously by loving relatives who just couldn't afford to care for them. Some were thrust into her arms by relatives and neighbors eager to get rid of them. Some were even deposited at her gate in the middle of the night, for her to find in the morning. One woman claimed to be the aunt of two children whose mother had died... later it turned out that that woman was actually their mother, and her new husband didn't like the children, so she decided to abandon them by pretending they were AIDS orphans. And one sneaky little boy whose mother was healthy but living in poverty managed to pass himself off as an AIDS orphan. His plan: to find a new mother to adopt him. The little boy loved his actual mother very much... in fact, the logic behind his plan to get adopted was that his "new" mother would take care of both him, and his actual mother, and he would be able to rescue his mother from poverty!
Now, Atetegeb Worku Memorial Orphans Support Association (named for Haregewoin's daughter who passed away) is an established orphanage, and Haregewoin and her helpers strive to give children shelter, food, health care, education, and counseling. Haregewoin has made a big difference in both caring for needy children, and setting an example for others in her country to see that the orphans left behind by AIDS... some of whom have HIV themselves... are regular children who need and deserve to be cared for by their community members.
Read the book... Haregewoin is sure to inspire you!

1 comment:

melody is slurping life said...

What an amazing story. These are the types of books I love to read. Thanks for the review.

BTW Love for Parker is up and running. Thank you so much for the donation of your book. You're a dear.