Tuesday, November 28, 2006

There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey To Rescue Africa's Children by Melissa Fay Greene

This is the book that is causing me to rethink my life and try to decide if I am living a meaningful life. Am I doing enough good or should I sell my possessions, move to Africa or India and dedicate my life to something more useful than having a socially conscious job and owning a home.

Haregewoin Teferra was a middle class woman in Ethiopia, a professional woman with an husband who was a teacher and two beautiful and beloved daughters. After her husband passes away she raises her daughters to adulthood. After one of her daughters contracts AIDS and dies, Haregewoin goes into mourning, believing her life is over. Her priest comes to her with a baby that has been orphaned by AIDS and starts her on a journey that transforms her life. She now runs an orphanage that is inundated with the children of the AIDS epidemic.

This is a appalling story of the utter waste of human life that the world has let continue long after successful treatments had been discovered to slow the disease and even reverse it in infants. It is also heartbreaking how painful death is for the millions of adults and children that have contracted the disease. The numbers of dead or dying are almost incomprehensible but threaded through it all is the reality that one person can make a difference.

This is a compelling story where facts are interspersed with personal stories of children that are alive, well and even in some cases, thriving because someone dared to ignore the stigma of AIDS to give these children a home and a chance. Better yet, it is also well researched and well written.


Melissa Fay Greene said...

I'm just writing to thank you for your thoughtful and generous post about my book; and to offer a link from this post, if you like, to the book's website.
But you'll never convince me that a librarian is not leading a meaningful life. In fact, if you were interested, I could put you in touch with Americans who have created an organization called ETHIOPIA READS, trying to bring literacy AND books to Ethiopia's vast population denied schooling.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on the book.

A Librarian said...

My official "review" was much more polished but this was my initial "reaction". I would love to hear more about the literacy initiave in Ethiopia.