My perspective has never been the same since I returned from Ethiopia 7 months ago.
I saw a lot. I heard a lot. I touched a lot. A lot touched me.
When the world started talking about swine flu last week I listened. But with all the hype my perspective kept winding its way back to Ethiopia. Why in our world would the deaths of 27 people in Mexico create a panic that would have hotels holding travelers hostage in Asia, citizens screaming to close our borders, jet planes changing their routes because a passenger has a cough, and schools shutting down because someone has a fever.
In the Sub-Sahara region of Africa, the soil from where my son comes from roughly 5,500 people die A DAY from AIDS. That’s right, in ONE DAY. On the Ethiopian soil from where Noah walked one year ago … 5 million children are orphaned… 1 million children are orphans living with the HIV/AIDS. On the African soil from where Noah’s family still lives today almost 7,400 people are newly infected with HIV A DAY.
Imagine living with those numbers day to day. So I ask a question…what if Ethiopia or Uganda or Zambia were our neighbors to the south…neighbors knocking on our door for help. Would the world notice?
Here’s a little something I found this week. Some bullet points from the Federal Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa for the past week while we have been washing our hands with Purell.
- Given the late start of belg and the approaching hunger season (yes, their ministry has a name for the time of year when famine could strike) food security and nutrition conditions may deteriorate rapidly in some parts of the country.
- Since the beginning of April admission rates of malnourished children have increased rapidly and are alarmingly high in some areas.
- Over 1000 children have been admitted to health care centers in one weeks time due to malnutrition.
- The average price of cereals is still high and the price of livestock is increasing. No rainfall from belg producing areas so prospect of belg harvest is not promising due to inadequate land preparation and late planting due to erratic nature of the rain.
- 26 deaths have been reported due to Acute Watery Diarrhea last week. Due to lack of proper drugs, poor water supplies, poor hygiene and sanitation, and inadequate human resources they only expect these numbers to grow.
Oh, and one more thing….
- No reports of Influenza H1N1 (swine flu) Phew!!
May 7 is World AIDS ORPHANS Day. May 10 is Mother’s Day. May 12 is the one year anniversary of Noah’s relinquishment…the day he said good-bye to the only world he knew and started his transition into our world. Mother’s Day is bookended by two very sobering reminders of life outside my walls.
A friend of mine adopted an HIV+ child from Ethiopia. We met in Addis last September and spent a week together with our new children. It was the AHOPE orphanage that Melat was in that left such a strong imprint on my mind. This month Jessica was honored by having an essay about adopting an HIV+ child published in Seattle’s Child Magazine. Within the article there are some great ideas for Mother’s Day gifts that Support AIDS orphans. I would highly recommend checking the article and the ideas out.
So let’s see…for Mother’s Day this year I think I’m going to ask for a bowl of peppermint candy ice cream and some micro-roasted coffee that will help support AHOPE.
Happy Mother’s Day