Face to Face – Children of the Aids Crisis in Africa Reviewed By Wendy Thomas Of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer Wendy Thomas. Wendy lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and six children, ages 9-17 and has been published in various regional magazines and newspapers. She writes a weekly column, Simple Thrift for the Nashua Telegraph.View all articles by Wendy Thomas
Authors: Karen Ande, Ruthann Richter
Publisher: HOPE Publishing House
There is perhaps nothing more beautiful than the innocence and potential of children. And likewise, there is nothing as heartbreaking as a child in anguish.
Face to Face – Children of the Aids Crisis in Africa is an important book that manages to instruct us while tugging at our sense of humanity by showing us the devastating impact of Aids on its littlest victims, the children of parents and family members with aids. At the same time, however, this breathtaking, beautifully photographed essay gives us hope for the children as well as for the future of AIDS treatment in Africa
The book begins as a trip across rural Tala in Kenya in 2004 where 60 children in school uniforms lift their arms and sing a joyful Swahili welcome song. Ruthann Richter and documentary photographer Karen Ande had taken the trip to gather the stories of the children and their families so that the world might listen and respond to their plight.
“These children are the innocent bystanders of the global war on AIDS, which is destroying the social fabric in sub-Saharan Africa. For decades, the virus festered in the region while the world stood by paralyzed with indifference. Meanwhile, the numbers grew to epic proportions, becoming a human catastrophe unprecedented in history. Today, two-thirds of the world’s people living with HIV – an estimated 22 million adults and children – live in sub-Saharan Africa, only a fraction of them benefiting from the expensive, life giving drugs that have made AIDS a manageable disease in the West.”
Page after page of this beautiful oversized book shows us the devastating effects of AIDS on the children. Some are orphaned, some must care for ailing adults, and some are left to become the caretakers of their younger siblings. It’s the eyes of these children that will haunt you long after you have put the book down.
But it’s also the resiliency of these kids that will inspire you. We are introduced to children who can’t walk because of malnutrition, children who are developmentally delayed, or who have physical handicaps who because of charitable work become happy, well adjusted children who are taught how to succeed.
To hear and see pictures of a child who learned to stand up with the help of a walker but who is now a mischievous child who runs through the corridors, telling stories and relating bits of news is nothing short of inspiring and hopeful. It takes a village to raise a child but it also takes resources and the hard work of good people.
Ruthann Richter has been writing about medical issues, including HIV/AIDS, since the early 1980’s. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University and has received awards from the American Cancer Society, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. In addition to her Africa projects, she is the director of media relations at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she works with media from around the world and covers HIV/AIDS issues.
Karen Ande has been chronicling the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa since 2002. She has traveled extensively as a volunteer with NGO’s in Kenya and Rwanda, photographing community based-projects and the people they serve. Her photographs have been featured widely in newspapers, magazines, the Web, television and in solo exhibits.
All proceeds of Face to Face will go to organizations that help African children.Click Here To Purchase Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa