There Is No Me Without You

15 Sep

I recently finished Melissa Fay Greene’s excellent book, There Is No Me Without You.  It chronicles the life of Haregewoin Teferra’s, an ordinary Ethiopian who finds herself doing something extraordinary.

The book weaves Haregwoin’s story with the story of Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.  It’s not a work of fiction.  Haregwoin wants to die after her daughter’s own death, but instead finds herself caring for one orphan then another then another.  Her care for AIDS orphans becomes one of the first of its kind.

Besides the amazing, sometimes heartwarming sometimes heartwrenching, story of Haregwoin and her orphans, besides the fact that I have two adopted children from Addis and one is HIV positive, I really appreciated the information on HIV/AIDS.  I think anyone with an HIV positive child would benefit from Greene’s journalistic perspective (which also happens to be the perspective of an adoptive mother herself).

Greene addresses the origin and catastrophic rise of HIV/AIDS.  “Where had HIV/AIDS come from?” she asks.  I remember hearing some story about monkies in Africa.  That’s where Greene starts.  But it’s a lot more complicated than that, and more interesting.  Superstition, syringes, epidemiologists, pharmaceutical companies, UNAIDS.  Greene addresses everything and its not sensationalized.  There’s a little human face on all of this.

“By 2003, Ethiopia had more than a million AIDS orphans, Haregewoin had twenty-four of them living in her home, and more children were headed her way.” pg. 155

Even if you haven’t adopted from Ethiopia, parents of children with HIV will benefit from There Is No Me Without You.  It will open your eyes and educate you, at least it did me.  And it will touch your heart, especially with your own children in mind.

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One Response to “There Is No Me Without You”

  1. Wendy September 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I just finished this book 2 days ago, and I am a much better person for it! We’ll be traveling next month for court to adopt our daughter in Ethiopia, and I’m so thankful that I have a much deeper understanding of the country before heading over. The book had me crying at one page, and furiously angry with our government the next. Extremely well written, with the personal and historical and scientific seamlessly woven together. A must read!

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