I had wanted to do a more substantive post on World Aids Day yesterday but I wasn’t really sure what I exactly I wanted to say. I did know that I wanted to make an effort at being personal and “not hide in numbers, facts, and figures ” as AfroFeminista puts it. This post is inspired by the comments that were left on yesterday’s post.
Insidious started off with the following observations:
My 1st encounter with aids was rather mundane yet tragic. Back in 90 or there about, my voice was breaking and my awareness of the opposite sex was at its peak. Yet at this tender initiation I was certain I had seen the most beautiful Kenyan woman-incidentally, my taste was and still is, I believe to some degree, relatively good. A year later, she was dead and I canâ€™t describe to you the shock that greeted me at her funeral. She had withered and shrunk to a shell. That was my wake up call and that of many who knew her given her unconventional beauty. Tragic thus far, I became aware of my surrounding. Not just for those with aids, but rater with misfortune and how fragile life can be. It was a sight that has since moderated my temperament in this fish bowl.
It gets grim when one learns that a talented young man or woman was cut down before their time and deed; more so when their destiny is hijacked by illness no mater what form.
Natureâ€™s junction is impromptu.
I was one of those people during my late teens (still trying to learn/GROW) that would always say â€ IF I GOT AIDS I WOULD RATHER KILL MYSELF THAN FACE MOMS, FAM OR MY FRIENDSâ€â€¦.but I realise that no one walks around just wanting to get AIDS shit happens and how you deal with the aftermath is what matters most.
I have not seen anyone close to me get aids, but in my early teens during church sponsored vists to hospitalâ€¦.i saw what AIDS did to people.. and as much as Iâ€™m averse to the â€œshock therapyâ€ aspect that i experiencedâ€¦.it worked then , i only hope our elders would have (AND WILL ) combined that with talking to the youngâ€™ns about the whole thing instead of treating it as taboo..
My personal experience with the tragedy that is AIDS could last an individual several lifetimes. I’ve been through the shock way back when the disease was something that was just whispered about. I’ve been through the loss so many times that I sometimes think I’ve become callous. I’ve been through the pain of watching a vibrant-full-of-potential person literally get their life sucked out of them. I’ve witnessed the disintegration of the social fabric that holds families and communities together as a result of premature AIDS-related deaths. And why the hell is tackling this disease like trying to play that game at the carnival/fair where whenever you hammer one ka-head another one pops up. I’ve been through the helplessness, particularly during the days when access to ARVs for majority of the people in the developing world was nothing more than a pipedream and all I could do was spend endless hours online and on the phone trying to get meds donated. I’ve witnessed a back from the deathbed experience…more than once…when I was able to get my hands on meds. I’ve been through the confusion of trying to deal with someone’s denial…what the hell do you when an individual won’t deal with their reality…if you get angry at them is that worse? Are you in any position to judge how someone has chosen to deal with their status? How do you balance the right to privacy with the need to end the stigma surrounding the disease? Should you (family) deny the denial? What about an AIDS orphan who is also infected with AIDS…when do you tell them? How do you explain it? I’ve been through the anger…how can world live with the unequal access to treatment? How could someone have put themselves in such a situation in the face of everything that they know? I’ve been through the activist stage…primarily driven by my sense of helplessness…then I learned that sometimes all you needed to do was be there (I still will never own a single share in a drug company EVER). I’ve seen how far much of a difference can be made when people care and organize and get shocked/agitated, access to ARVs in most cities in Kenya is not a fantasy…the need is still far greater than the demand but I know people who are receiving treatment and working and taking care of their families today…three or four years ago, these people would have been doing nothing more than biding time. Gosh that was a long sentence.
I could go on and on…have barely scratched the surface….this is just my attempt at sharing what I’ve experienced and as I write this I wish I had nothing to share. And I am just one person. As Mental puts it, this is the crisis of our generation. Sigh.