Tuesday, August 15, 2006
"After burying their children, they must take care of the children of their children.They are the “AIDS grannies” of Africa: women like Matilda Mwenda, 51, of Zambia, who has lost two of her seven children to AIDS, leaving five orphaned grandchildren in her care, along with two nieces who were orphaned when her sister died of AIDS. Or Priscilla Mwanza, 49, also of Zambia, a widow who is herself infected with H.I.V. She cares for three grandchildren orphaned by AIDS in addition to her own surviving children, 16 and 3, a niece and her aging mother. Or Alicia Mdaka, 66, from Cape Town, who has seen four of her eight children die — two from AIDS, two from stabbings. Now, along with her four surviving children, she cares for seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The three women are among about 100 African grandmothers who flew here for a four-day gathering that ends Sunday with a march to the opening of the 16th International AIDS Conference. The gathering, which brought the African women together with about 200 Canadian grandmothers (very few of them dealing with AIDS in their immediate families), is believed to be the first large one dedicated to helping grandmothers cope with the AIDS pandemic." By Lawrence K. Altman, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 8-14-06 NVS)