28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

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9780802716750: 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

In 28, Stephanie Nolen, the Toronto Globe and Mail's Africa Bureau Chief, puts a human face on the crisis created by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Through riveting anecdotal stories, Nolen brings to life people involved in every aspect of the crisis and explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in magnitude, a calamity ongoing just a 747-flight away. 28's stories are much more than a record of suffering and loss. Through her unprecedented reporting, Nolen introduces women, men, and children fighting vigorously and hopefully on the frontlines of disease: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult's life expectancy is 36; Zachie Achmat, the hero of South Africa's politically fragmented battle against HIV/AIDS. Nolen's stories reveal how the disease works, how it spreads, and how it kills; how it is inextricably tied to conflict, famine, failure of leadership, and the collapse of states, and to the cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works, and how people who can't get it fight to stay alive with courage, dignity, and hope against huge odds. Writing with power, understanding, and simplicity, Stephanie Nolen makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care. Timely, transformative, and thoroughly accessible, 28 is essential reading for our times.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Nolen is the Africa Bureau Chief for the Globe and Mail, and one of only three journalists in the world dedicated to the AIDS story. She has reported from more than 40 countries around the world, and has won Canada's National Newspaper Award for International Reporting two years in a row. She was the recipient of the 2003, 2004, and 2006 Amnesty International Award for Human Rights Reporting, for reports from war zones in Uganda and Sudan, and also won the Markwell Award of the International Society of Political Psychology. She is the author of Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race and Shakespeare's Face.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Why28

I looked at AIDS in Africa for a long time before I understood what I was seeing. That moment came on the shady porch of a small mud-brick house in a village called Nkhotakota in Malawi, early in 2002. The house belonged to Lillian Chandawili. She was thirty-five years old, and I met her through the local AIDS organization. We sat in the softening heat of the late afternoon and she told me how she was raising her five children on her own–her husband was gone. She confided that she was plagued by diarrhea and a racking cough; some days she barely had the strength to lift a hoe, but her little plot of land was the only source of food for her family.

While we talked, Lillian’s children ventured up to sit near us, and neighbours and relatives stopped by, polite and eager to greet a visitor. There were a great many children. Lillian explained that in addition to her five she was raising two of her late sister’s children and two orphaned cousins. She laid one gentle hand on their heads as they crept in close–“This one has it,” she said. “And this one, I think he’s infected.” When the neighbours moved on, she gestured with a lift of her chin at one or another–“She is infected. He is positive. Her husband is dying. He lost his wife.”

And as I listened, I suddenly understood that it wasn’t just Lillian and the dozen people in her support group in Nkhotakota who had AIDS. On paper, it was one in six adults in Malawi. But in this village, it was hundreds of people. If they weren’t sick themselves, they were caring for the sick. They were sheltering their sisters’ orphans, their dead brother’s young wife and baby. One way or another, everyone had the disease. And it meant that they earned less, that they grew less food, that fewer children went to school, that no one had any savings. Lillian talked of all the people who had “passed,” and I had a sense of a community quietly evaporating around me.

A few days later, in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, I set out early one morning for the main hospital, where the lone doctor in charge had agreed to speak to me about the country’s HIV epidemic. When I got to the hospital, however, no one was quite sure where he was, and people suggested I try one ward or another, check this corridor or that office. I wandered the halls in a state of growing horror. I had by that point seen many basic and overcrowded African hospitals, but never anything like this. There were people everywhere: three to a bed, lying head to foot to head; under the beds, lying on grass mats in the stairwells and in the verandas off the wards. They were bone thin and covered in lesions and abscesses. As I stepped gingerly among them, they shifted their heads slightly to look up at me through eyes grown huge in sunken faces. I could not find the doctor; I did find a nurse–perhaps the only nurse–who was stout and slovenly and clearly drunk, her hairpiece of copper curls askew. Looking around the ward, I couldn’t blame her: it was barely 8 a.m., but I felt in desperate need of a stiff drink myself.

I had realized, long before that day, that AIDS was a unique and savage phenomenon in Africa. Back in 1998, in a rural hospital in Tanzania, the chief medical officer had led me on a tour of the wards. In one, we passed rows of antique but tidy beds lined up under billowy mosquito nets. Then we came to three men off by themselves, lying in a row on a thin mat on the floor. Their legs were like twigs, and their breathing was audible from the other side of the room. I was puzzled at first, and stopped in front of them. Then realized what this must be.

“Do they have AIDS?” I asked.

The doctor and his assistants whipped around. A nurse seized my arm and began to pull me out of the ward.

Shh, shh, shh,” she scolded. “You can’t just say that word.”

The sight of those men stayed with me. Over the next few years, I kept going back to Africa, drawn to what I began to believe was the biggest story in the world. Not the wars or the refugee crises that occasionally–very occasionally–made the evening news back home, but the slow, almost incalculable devastation that HIV/AIDS was wreaking in country after country I visited.

I know something about what makes news. In the fifteen years I have worked as a journalist, I have reported on some of the biggest stories in the world. I watched Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization move into the West Bank after making peace with Israel in the early 1990s. I saw tentative women venture out of their homes for the first time in five years as the Taliban lost their hold on Afghanistan. I watched Saddam Hussein’s army flee Baghdad in the face of an onslaught of U.S. Marines. There is an undeniable thrill that comes with being in the centre of the big story.

But nothing I was sent to cover anywhere in the world compared to what I saw AIDS doing in sub-Saharan Africa. And yet this story never made the news at all.

In 2003, I persuaded my editors at The Globe and Mail that we were missing something important. They did not yet share my conviction about the urgency of the story, but they were willing to let me try to tell it. I moved to Johannesburg and began what would turn out to be years of travel through the heart of the epidemic: the Swazi villages, the slums outside Durban, the highlands of Lesotho, the urban hospitals of Botswana. I found hundreds and hundreds of communities like Nkhotakota on the verge of disappearing. I knew people in North America who had been living with HIV for years, taking antiretroviral medication that does not cure AIDS but will keep a person with HIV healthy for decades. But no one in Africa had the drugs. No one was even talking about getting them the drugs. AIDS was a fully preventable illness at home. But in Africa, it was a plague, and people like Lillian Chandawili could do little but sit and watch its inexorable progression. And I began to wonder how this could be happening–how we could be letting this happen–almost entirely unremarked.
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Book Description Walker Company, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In 28, Stephanie Nolen, the Toronto Globe and Mail s Africa Bureau Chief, puts a human face on the crisis created by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Through riveting anecdotal stories, Nolen brings to life people involved in every aspect of the crisis and explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in magnitude, a calamity ongoing just a 747-flight away. 28 s stories are much more than a record of suffering and loss. Through her unprecedented reporting, Nolen introduces women, men, and children fighting vigorously and hopefully on the frontlines of disease: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult s life expectancy is 36; Zachie Achmat, the hero of South Africa s politically fragmented battle against HIV/AIDS. Nolen s stories reveal how the disease works, how it spreads, and how it kills; how it is inextricably tied to conflict, famine, failure of leadership, and the collapse of states, and to the cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works, and how people who can t get it fight to stay alive with courage, dignity, and hope against huge odds. Writing with power, understanding, and simplicity, Stephanie Nolen makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care. Timely, transformative, and thoroughly accessible, 28 is essential reading for our times. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780802716750

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Book Description Walker & Company. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 384 pages. Dimensions: 8.3in. x 5.5in. x 1.1in.This is a formidable book of recordfrom the tiny virus, via twenty-eight individual human stories, to an entire continent. The stories will tear you apart before putting you back together, fully armed and ready to go to war with a virus more dangerous than any WMD. BonoMagnificent, inspiring, informative. Nolen opens the essential door to the brave, suffering, human reality of the African AIDS crisis. John le CarrFor the past six years, Stephanie Nolen has traced AIDS across Africa, and 28 is the result: an unprecedented, uniquely human portrait of the continent in crisis. Through riveting, anecdotal stories, she bears witness and brings to life men, women, and children involved in every AIDS arena, exploring the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in scope, and the reasons why we must care about what happens. Nolens stories reveal how the disease works and spreads; how it is inextricably tied to conflict and famine and to the diverse cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works; and how people who cant get treatment fight to stay alive with courage and dignity against huge odds. Writing with power and simplicity, she makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780802716750

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Book Description Walker Company, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In 28, Stephanie Nolen, the Toronto Globe and Mail s Africa Bureau Chief, puts a human face on the crisis created by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Through riveting anecdotal stories, Nolen brings to life people involved in every aspect of the crisis and explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in magnitude, a calamity ongoing just a 747-flight away. 28 s stories are much more than a record of suffering and loss. Through her unprecedented reporting, Nolen introduces women, men, and children fighting vigorously and hopefully on the frontlines of disease: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult s life expectancy is 36; Zachie Achmat, the hero of South Africa s politically fragmented battle against HIV/AIDS. Nolen s stories reveal how the disease works, how it spreads, and how it kills; how it is inextricably tied to conflict, famine, failure of leadership, and the collapse of states, and to the cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works, and how people who can t get it fight to stay alive with courage, dignity, and hope against huge odds. Writing with power, understanding, and simplicity, Stephanie Nolen makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care. Timely, transformative, and thoroughly accessible, 28 is essential reading for our times. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9780802716750

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Book Description Walker Company, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In 28, Stephanie Nolen, the Toronto Globe and Mail s Africa Bureau Chief, puts a human face on the crisis created by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Through riveting anecdotal stories, Nolen brings to life people involved in every aspect of the crisis and explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in magnitude, a calamity ongoing just a 747-flight away. 28 s stories are much more than a record of suffering and loss. Through her unprecedented reporting, Nolen introduces women, men, and children fighting vigorously and hopefully on the frontlines of disease: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult s life expectancy is 36; Zachie Achmat, the hero of South Africa s politically fragmented battle against HIV/AIDS. Nolen s stories reveal how the disease works, how it spreads, and how it kills; how it is inextricably tied to conflict, famine, failure of leadership, and the collapse of states, and to the cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works, and how people who can t get it fight to stay alive with courage, dignity, and hope against huge odds. Writing with power, understanding, and simplicity, Stephanie Nolen makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care. Timely, transformative, and thoroughly accessible, 28 is essential reading for our times. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780802716750

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