One step forward

Women weeding in Zambia

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 … 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 … surely you knew the answer before you asked: “We buy coffins of course; we never have enough coffins”.

Click here for the full speech.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation is here.

It makes me wanna holler sometimes,
The way they do you wrong.
Makes me wanna holler sometimes,
And throw up both my hands …
– Gil Scott Heron

It's not unusual in southern Africa
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