Friday, April 22, 2011

a message from swaziland

"The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response. In particular it requires solidarity -- between the healthy and the sick, between rich and poor, and above all, between richer and poorer nations. We have 30 million orphans already. How many more do we have to get, to wake up?" - Kofi Annan

it's good friday. 

i figured i would think about death at some point today.

a message from an expat in swaziland is my inbox when i wake: zandile's sister died this morning.  she collapsed and died as they arrived at the hospital.  she has two girls, now double orphaned.  they are surrounded by strong family.  zandile will cherish any words you send.  are you coming soon?

i pick up a sympathy card at a christian book store.  i know zandi deeply believes in god.  buying the card is an act of faith for me. asking god to surround you with his love, it reads. 

to get to the card section of the store, i walk past a series of book displays: so long, insecurity. fat-proof your family. lady in waiting: what do to while waiting for mr. right.  my stomach ties in knots.  two more children are orphaned in swaziland, adding to the other 100,000 across the nation.  none of this is represented by any of the titles i pass. 

now i sit with this card that wishes god's peace to my friend who just lost a sister and added two children to her own three.  what to say? my eyes flood with tears.  i'm deeply sorry for your loss.  i hope the peace i struggle to find in my own life may be overwhelming present in yours.  may your land produce enough food to feed two more mouths.  may there be money to pay their school fees this year.  may the god who claims to be the father to the fatherless be that to your two new children.  may the HIV that hides in your body be restrained by the medicines the swazi government graciously provides you.  may you live long and well.  may you not leave your now five children orphaned.  may you know you are loved. 

and may hiv please end.  soon. 

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