Reaching to Uganda, Africa

on Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am currently taking an Anthropology class entitled, “Global Perspectives on Health.” In this course, my class has been able to look into the certain diseases that affect different countries and why they manifest themselves so differently from culture to culture and area to area.

In my class on Monday, we began to discuss the different epidemics of infectious diseases that have surfaced in different areas. One that we touched on that is extremely well-known and attention-getting, is HIV/AIDS.

After we danced through the not-so-happy discussion of the symptoms, causes, and lack of a cure, we began speaking of the Africa-specific issues that have been going on lately. Dr. Sharon Williams, the professor of this course on global health, was rattling off the names of countries that have the largest infection rate for the HIV virus.

As she was naming these countries, I could only think of one of my closest friends, Emily, who has had the opportunity to spend over 6 months of her life within an orphanage in Uganda, Africa, which was on that list. Emily has devoted so much of her time and love to these children at the Amani Baby Cottage in the capital city of Jinja, Uganda.

During class, we were talking about the immense number of children that have been orphaned by the death of their parents due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. There are literal missing generations within some of the villages in Africa, simply due to this disease that has been such a terrible dark cloud the country of Uganda.

While telling me of her visit and work in Uganda, Emily would talk about how close to all of the children within the orphanage had lost their parents to AIDS and a large portion of them actually had contracted the disease themselves through their birth.

Hearing these stories from Emily has truly intensified my sadness for these kids and the situations that life has left for them. I cannot believe what a sad time it would be to lose one or both of your parents to AIDS.

Emily was able to instill some hope and love into these lonely children in the Amani Baby Cottage. The six months that she has spent there was broken up into two separate trips, and she is about to venture to Africa again this May. When she did return for the second time, the children that she was able to take care of the previous summer remembered her so well and their relationships grew stronger and their lives grew closer.

I can see it in Emily's eyes whenever she is talking about another Amani story or Ugandan child—she is absolutely in love with these kids. Her heart is in Africa and she has devoted so much of her life to loving these children who have lost so much.

I hope that so many people can draw from her life and experiences, knowing that going out on a limb and sacrificing some of your time for a cause that you believe so much in, truly will be rewarding.


Post a Comment