Thursday, December 02, 2004

World AIDS Day 2004: The Day After

Now did we all do something positive for World AIDS Day 2004 yesterday? If not, don’t worry because you can do something about it today, or tommorow, but don’t wait too long ‘cause time is running out for millions and millions of people the world over.

Each year because of events like World AIDS Day 2004 I learn more and more about this devastating pandemic HIV/AIDS, and I feel that I still don’t know enough. There have been 17 Annual World AIDS Day events to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, 17 years for the world to begin to wake up to the most devastating disease to affect humans on Earth, ever.

I took some time yesterday to read online news articles and blogger postings and even watched a little TV coverage on BBC World & CNN International about World AIDS Day and I’ll tell you there are some wonderful things happening out there on behalf of AIDS sufferers. Here are a few of my favorite World AIDS Day 2004 discoveries:

THE GLOBAL FUND website

These folks have a “serious” (U.K. english translation = well done) online presence for their international programs to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and TB. I was particularly attracted to their
Stories from the Field section, their Country Profiles tool, and their financial contributions and disbursement features (you can find all of these features on the web page link provided). The U.N. H.Q. in New York and their overpaid accountants can learn something from these folks about financial accountability and transparency ref: Iraq Oil for Food Scam.

I was particularly attracted to the featured organization of the month KENWA (Kenya Network of Women with HIV/AIDS) based in Nairobi, Kenya. This community-based organization founded and operated by women has proven that they can have an impact on the lives of HIV/AIDS sufferers in their communities, and they have proven that women can organize and run a successful non-profit organization which garners the attention and funding from international foundations i.e. The Global Fund (and do the job better than men).

Now some very fine people from Kenya have been talking and working with me over the past few months, helping me to understand all kinds of things about Kenya that I didn’t know before (can’t learn about Kenya in the movies or from the skewed views of Colonials you know, you gotta deal with the people who come from there to get the lowdown). And then there is “Mama Miti” (The Mother of Trees),
Dr. Wangari Maathai, who will be in Oslo, Norway in just a few days to pick up her well-earned 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace. God bless her for showing the world how something as simple as planting trees can help save the planet. She had a little something to say about womens roles and woes in Africa recently too.

So, KENWA in Nairobi is an excellent choice in my opinion to directly contribute funds to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, or you can contribute money to The Global Fund in Switzerland and let them use it where they see fit. Either way, you can be assured to help someone.

Africa-centric weblogs

Kenya Hudson, the author of the excellent blog
Ambiguous Adventure, used a very nice “personal stories” touch for her December 1st posting about World AIDS Day 2004. You need to go over there and check it out for yourself and while you are at it, review some of her articles and commentaries on African issues and affairs. Kenya Hudson is coming up-to-speed nicely in the blogosphere and she is "a graduate student and itenerant researcher and writer" coming to us LIVE out of the U.S.A. Nice work Kenya.

Mshairi, my blogger friend and author of
Mshairi (the Poet), wrote a lovely little poem (or is it a sonnet?) titled “This Day” for December 1st, 2004. It is a wonderful piece as are many of her poems that she shares so generously with us in the Blogosphere before we all have to spend “big bucks” to buy her first published book of poetry at Amazon. She is helping me to take an interest in poetry again and to learn more about her home country Kenya as well. A jewel of a woman writing from the dark and damp jungles of London in Winter.

There is plenty more on World AIDS Day 2004 one can discover in the Blogosphere on zillions of weblogs, but unfortunately I have not had the time to search. If you know of some other good blog postings on this important day, let us know via the comments feature.

Telling Tales, Singing, and Acting for AIDS Victims

If you like reading books like I do then you may find this link to the
UNDP Choices online magazine for September 2004 interesting. South African native Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature, came up with an excellent idea to organize an anthology of short stories written by some of the world’s most renowned authors and use the proceeds from sales of the book to help HIV/AIDS victims in Southern Africa. The lineup of 21 writers and their respective short stories is outstanding, with a few of my favorites on the list and others I have been intending to read at some future date (which never seems to arrive). So, this book titled “Telling Tales for AIDS” could be a Christmas gift to myself this year. Maybe I should buy a copy or two for some friends as well. Nah, why do that?

A group of 18 top African musicians and performers from the continent have released a special album (sorry, a CD) to help HIV/AIDS victims and to help alleviate poverty in Africa. The name of the recording is “
We Are The Drums of Africa” and I had a chance at hear a brief take 5 of the music on CNN’s Inside Africa program last weekend. You can find out more about the CD release with photos at the Africa 2015 Foundation site. Hmmm, I think I’ll get that cool CD for myself this Christmas too.

And last but not least, I got a tip on a new film being released in South Africa this month titled “Yesterday”. The work is the first major film release in the Zulu language and will be South Africa’s entry to at least 3 major international film festivals in 2004-2005. Below is an excerpt of a brief review by
South Africa Films online magazine:

"Shot on location in KwaZulu Natal, Yesterday is the first feature film to be made in Zulu (with English subtitles). It is also the first South African film to be selected for both the Venice and Toronto film festivals and, more recently, has been chosen to be South Africa’s Official Entry for the 2005 Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Picture.

Written and directed by Darrell Roodt (Cry, The Beloved Country), Yesterday tells the moving story of a young mother (Leleti Khumalo) who is HIV positive. Her husband refuses to accept this and she is left to fend for both her daughter and herself. The film was produced in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which has described Yesterday as “reaching beyond conventional HIV-Aids rhetoric, towards real action and active engagement”. Oprah Winfrey, who saw the film in South Africa last year, says of Yesterday: “Its simplicity and clarity of message resonate with power”. Nelson Mandela has described the film as “truly inspiring”.

Hmmm? If Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandella say the film is good, then it must be good. I’ll guess that I’ll treat my----, or a friend or a loved one, to this film for Christmas. I wonder if it will be showing in Germany by Weihnachten 2004. I hope not with subtitles “auf Detusch”! Yeah? Bummer! O.K., it would be nicer for German-speaking audiences if subtitles are in German. O.K.

Advice provided by yours truly,
SCROOGE (of the River People)

2 comments:

Mshairi said...

Hey BlackRiverEagle, urging people to do something worthwhile not only on World AIDS day but any day and every day is an excellent idea. World AIDS day is always emotional - I have lost some family and very good friends due to HIV - people who had made and could have made lasting contributions to many people's lives. Thanks for the kind words about the poem and the link to my blog.

DaveyBoy said...

HIV/AIDS related blogs can be found on http://www.HIVforum.com/Blogs/ (also links to start your own).

Learn about HIV/AIDS more on http://www.HIVAIDSsearch.com !