While I have been researching the possibilities and the opportunities for our mission trip I have been doing some reading and some self educating.
When we adopted E, I did alot of research about HIV and how it would affect him and his body, and us and ours. But I was so wrapped up in that I never really looked past that piece of it. Into the world of HIV/AIDS.
Recently I have been reading several books and I watched the video I mentioned earlier, The Age of AIDS. I started reading "The white man's burden : why the West's efforts to aid the rest have done so much ill and so little good" but it was too much technical stuff and honestly it just wasn't well written, so I didn't finish it. I am currently reading "Taking away the distance : a young orphan's journey and the AIDS epidemic in Africa" Miles Roston and I just received in the mail my copy of Scared a novel by Tom Davis. Today there was an article on CNN about baby's, girls and women, virgin's, who are being raped because the healers in Zimbabwe are telling the men with HIV that it will cure them.
I have really learned so much, and have so many thoughts swirling in my head.
I have been praying that God would use the information that I am ingesting and tell me if there is anything HE wants me to do.
I have been wondering if it would be possible to set up a home in Ethiopia, one that would house women who were HIV+ and pregnant. Where they could go to stay so that they could get their medications, find out how not to share it with their baby's, and live without fear of being an outcast while they were pregnant. This would get them off the streets, in a place that they could get medication, and then there would the added benefit of having one less baby born with HIV, with an ongoing ministry of administering the medications. Wouldn't this be the ideal?! Momma get's meds, baby is born healthy, and then momma keeps taking meds so that baby isn't then an orphan. Seems easy enough right? ok well maybe not easy, but do-able?
I began to wonder if there was such a thing, and I was just WAY behind in my thought process. I know there are so many amazing organizations out there trying so desperately to help save the orphans of this disease. They are doing a wonderful job! But what if we could find a way to stop the cycle with the mother, or even beforehand?
I know it's SO much bigger than my little brain can get wrapped around. Are there agencies in Ethiopia that are doing this? I read this article about women in Uganda doing something similar to what I have been envisioning.
In the reading I have been doing the key is not for this white western christian woman to go into Ethiopia guns blazing thinking I can save the world...because I can't. But what if we find women infected or not infected but wanting to make a change, and work with them. Find Ethiopian women who can relate to other Ethiopian women, help them to see how they can help themselves. I have been looking into HIV education while we are in Ethiopia next year, but what if the people listening don't want to hear what I have to say. There are so many customs and superstitions and stigma's that what I say wouldn't really matter... but what if someone there does get it and does something more than post a billboard, or preach to the people? I can't say that I blame anyone for not wanting to listen to outsiders talk to them about sex or matters like these. Not sure that I would listen... but there has to be a way....
In Adama where my E was born there is a very high rate of mortality in women with HIV. Why is that? How can we help that?
I can't save E's mother at this point, but maybe he has family that we could make a difference with...and then that spreads?
I am really just rambling... I was talking to my mother this morning and she said there is just so much that needs to be done all over Africa it's just overwhelming. I agree with her. That's why I am focused on Ethiopia. That's where my children are from...it's the place that makes my heart hurt. I have a favorite quote... "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something and together we can change the world."
I don't know if I will ever see this woman's home come to fruition.... I have spoken to a few people about it and they seem to be open to working on something like that. I am not the kind of person to jump in with both feet without researching. And if there is already something out there that is already established I sure don't want to re-invent the wheel. But what if there's not? What if there is a way we can get something like this established. Maybe if we can save the moms, then the kids, then the word can get out about prevention at the core...where it starts.
Will you pray with me about this? About what God might have planned? If there is any part I am to play, even if only to plant a seed in an organization with the power to do something... or a group of women in Ethiopia with the strength to do this. I know they are there, I have met them seen their strength.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for praying.