Read the following extract from an impassioned speech by Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa:
Just a few weeks ago, I was in Zambia, visiting a district well outside of Lusaka. We were taken to a rural village to see an “income generating project” run by a group of Women Living With AIDS. They were gathered under a large banner proclaiming their identity, some fifteen or twenty women, all living with the virus, all looking after orphans. They were standing proudly beside the income generating project â€¦ a bountiful cabbage patch. After they had spoken volubly and eloquently about their needs and the needs of their children (as always, hunger led the litany), I asked about the cabbages. I assumed it supplemented their diet? Yes, they chorused. And you sell the surplus at market? An energetic nodding of heads. And I take it you make a profit? Yes again. What do you do with the profit? And this time there was an almost quizzical response as if to say what kind of ridiculous question is that â€¦ surely you knew the answer before you asked: “We buy coffins of course; we never have enough coffins”.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation is here.
The way they do you wrong.
Makes me wanna holler sometimes,
And throw up both my hands …
– Gil Scott Heron