Please face the facts about AIDS in Africa

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Sep 16th, 2004, 07:06 PM
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Please face the facts about AIDS in Africa

Fellow Fodorites. I have followed your threads diligently for years now. Thank you so much for all you have shared with me.

Something has bothered me for a while about the unspoken word here - AIDS. Yes, I suffer to hear of wounded and disappearing wildlife. Yes, I dearly want to go to Africa to see the splendors. But do you understand just how severe the African AIDS epidemic is? Surely no wildlife statistics can eclipse those wreaking havoc in the human population in Africa - our brothers and sisters.

Did you know that 8 months ago it was estimated that 4 million of the 42 million people in Africa have AIDS? And it has no doubt spread since then.

I would like to know the most respected and honest charity set on assisting this nation in need. I know that Oprah Winfrey has a foundation started with Nelson Mandela to help the children (millions are being orphaned). I have read estimates that 30% of the adult population of child rearing age have AIDS. Those poor children.

Please understand that my intentions are earnest - to help and educate, not to criticize. You might find fault with my numbers but please, let's focus instead on charity and genuine fellowship rather than one of petty rants.

Guess I'd like to harness your intellect and passion and direct it at least for one thread on this timely topic.

Respectfully and humbly yours
MC
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Sep 16th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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This map tells it all

http://www.time.com/time/2001/aidsin...map_flash.html
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Sep 16th, 2004, 07:44 PM
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These are statistics on Aids from Time. Terrifying.
http://www.time.com/time/2001/aidsin...resource2.html
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Sep 16th, 2004, 07:51 PM
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Why is the AIDs epidemic in Africa such a big secret?

http://www.time.com/time/europe/maga...717/kenya.html
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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Oprah's foundation

http://www.oprah.com/presents/2003/c...esources.jhtml
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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So that's what I've come across so far to share.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:28 PM
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http://www.powa.co.za/

Statistics on rape in South Africa. OMG
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Over 30 million people in Africa have been infected with AIDS already.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:44 PM
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A child is raped every 24 minutes in SA

There are 1700 new cases of HIV infection daily in South Africa.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 10:27 PM
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Mariacallas,

Yes, it is a horrible tragedy along with genocide in Sudan, starvation in many more countries, malaria which likely claims as many or more lives each year as AIDS, female circumcision, the killings and forcible removal of white farmers in Zimbabwe, the persecution of women and non-Muslims in Muslim African countries, etc., etc., etc.

As alarming as your figure for a child being raped every 24 minutes, how about this figure:

In sub-Sahara Africa, a child DIES every 30 seconds from MALARIA. So, for each child rape, as tragic as that is, FORTY EIGHT CHILDREN DIE OF MALARIA DURING THE SAME TIME PERIOD.

Can you please post 10 consecutive posts about Malaria, as well???

Thanks.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 10:38 PM
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Sep 17th, 2004, 06:19 PM
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I just thought that our friends here might want to know. Now I see our African neighbors with new insight. In their eyes, the sorrow (of many loved ones lost and fear of future losses)and in their sweet smiles, the joy (of surviving).

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Sep 17th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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MC: Thanks for taking the time to post the numerous articles and stats.

I don't think everyone on this board is ignorant of this tragedy, however, it is a board primarily focused on travel and the biggest draw for travel in these areas tends to be the wildlife and thus those topics are focused on.

When I was on safari in Botswana I had the privilidge of a couple of wonderful dinners when there were only 4 of us as guests and we ate with 3 Botswanan staff allowing us to have great conversations about many topics. When asked what the biggest problem was the answer without hesitation was the AIDS Pandemic. In that conversation they explained that their culture was changing to really emphasize monogamy due to the danger.

Another interesting thing was in the airports in Maun and Kasane there were large boxes of free condoms and I was told that was common around Botswana.

It is a terrible disease and it is going to be a problem in Africa and else where for a long time to come.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 08:21 PM
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Maria,
Africa has many enormous problems, of which AIDs is one terrible tragedy. I don't think anyone here is ignoring the tragegy.

I do believe that people get more involved in charitable activities for places that they know, love and identify with.. I'm not saying that as an excuse, it is just a fact. So people who visit Africa as tourists and love this far-away place are likely to be the ones to do something about this crises--look at the example of Oprah. She became a crusader AFTER her visit to South Africa.

But Roccco is also right: AIDs isn't the only tragegy-- malaria kills, hunger kills, violence, whether it is in Darfur, or the Congo, or the townships of SA kills. We need to do more. But these are complex problems, and many need the commitment of those IN these countries. Uganda has managed to reduce the transmission of AIDS because Museveni made it his cause-- other African leaders (as in SA) chose to keep their heads in the sand. (This is beginning to change, but not nearly enough. Botswana has more recently shown a committed government response, and so things are iimproving there. We all need to work together. Hopefully travellers will become those that work hardest and lobby loudest for more...
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Sep 18th, 2004, 02:58 AM
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MC

I don't think anyone can visit an African country and come away without an understanding of how huge the AIDS problem is throughout the continent.

Having spoken to KimWhits, an American fodorite with whom we stayed a night in Ballito, who has moved to SAfrica permanently to work as a doctor in a community hospital, we came to have an even better understanding of the horrors surrounding this. Grown men really do still rape children (and I'm not talking almost adfult teens here, I'm talking BABIES) because they still labour under the impression that sex with a virgin will cure them. It's horrific and beyond my comprehension that people can put their health above children.

However, I know that I am unable to support every charity or every cause and won't do you the disservice of pretending I'm about to support the AIDS charities at this moment. I currently support World Vision (though child sponsorship), Multiple Sclerosis charities and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. I am currently putting most of my energies into the latter of those three.

You might wonder how someone would have the compassion to support animals when people are dying? You might wonder about my priorities in doing so.

I'll try and explain my feelings about this, though I'm sure I'll get some stick for my position. At least I'm being honest about it. The truth is that I do feel pain for the people who are suffering. I am disappointed that the Western world as a whole is averting it's eyes to the plight of the less developed nations. I'm saddened that Bush was willing to override the patents on the Anthrax Vaccine when it seemed that his people may need it in volume and at low cost but is not equally willing to override the patents on AIDS drugs when Africans need those even more. And can't afford them. I disagree with much of the WTO stipulations and much else besides.

But I still believe that wildlife and the environment deserve my attention more. Why? Because humanity is not in danger of extinction. Much of our biodiversity is.

As humans are the ones who will, I believe, ultimately suffer if we allow any more of it to disappear forever from our planet in my own way I believe my choices are about helping humanity too. Less directly and with what might be a more longterm approach. But that's how I see it.

There are so many people working hard to help other people but many less who are working to help the environment and wildlife. The causes are equally crucial, the problems (to me) are equally heartbreaking. Since I only have so much support to give, I have to go with my own instincts on where to give it.

Many thanks for sharing and for bringing this issue into focus.

Kavita
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Sep 18th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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For those of us who have traveled to Africa, it is impossible to be ignorant of the plight of AIDS. Throughout Kenya and Tanzania, especially in the large cities, there are billboards about AIDS, the use of condoms, etc. Sadly, it is not just AIDS that is killing many people. As Rocco pointed out, there are many diseases for which a simple innoculation would help, but sadly those innoculations are not available. I have seen children in Tanzania whose hair is discolored from malnutrition and whose bellies are swollen from hunger. Driving in Kenya, I have seen children wearing rags for clothing that I would not even use to wash my kitchen floor. Anyone who has been anywhere on the continent of Africa is painfully aware of the many, many health issues facing the people. Mariacallas, please do not assume that because many of us enjoy talking about gameviewing, accommodations, wildlife conservation, etc. that we are not aware of the plight, nor care, about the people of Africa and the many issues they must deal with day in and day out. Those of us who have been there are, trust me, painfully aware.
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Sep 18th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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Thank you for your heartfelt messages. I have not been to Africa. Although I have studied it a great deal, I was shocked to find about the atrocities there, about the tremendous need for relief. My intentions were never to chastise anyone for loving African wildlife, or for focusing on other aspects of Africa. Truly. I just felt this conversation was due. That maybe there were others here in my same situation. Mainly I hoped to learn more from your input. I am embarrassed I was so naively focused on mere itinerary rather than understanding this place I yearn for so. It doesn't make me love Africa any less. It doesn't dampen my burning desire to go there. When I do set foot on Mother Africa, I am determined to tread there with more understanding and empathy. As always, I am richer for your comments. Thank you.
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Sep 18th, 2004, 05:05 PM
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Mariacallas: But is the "mere" itinerary that will get you there, and once there, you will understand why so many of us are so passionate about Africa. The itinerary is a tool to use in order to get to Africa, a continent where there is so much trajedy, but that has a spirit which cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.
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Sep 18th, 2004, 10:34 PM
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Maria,
I applaud both your concern, your love of a place you have not yet visited, and your heartfelt need to help.

I would strongly, strongly urge a couple books on you...books that reflect the complexities of this situation.

An old book, but a classic : Lords of Poverty (can't remember the author, but it is available on Amazon and often eBay

Dark Star Safari (new one by Paul Theroux)

And especially, Emma's War, by Deborah Scroggins-- about the Sudan...written before the latest round of problems in Darfur, but a simply amazing book that must be read.

Things are definitely more complicated than they appear...
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