The Honeymoon's Over
I came into work this morning and found out that someone at BONASO died last night. I didn’t really get a chance to meet her; she had been out sick most of the time I’ve been here. She did come in on Monday for most of the day, but was hospitalized soon after. Apparently she had been in and out of hospitals a lot lately, and last night she finally succumbed to what people in the office are calling complications due to AIDS.
The cloud I’ve been riding has finally dropped me off back on Earth. I’ve been so caught up in everything that’s positive about living here that I had created a separate Botswana in my mind, one in which everyone isn’t affected by AIDS. I’ve realized today that we still have so much to learn. There are aspects of life here, such as the death-grip AIDS has on the country, that we thought we knew about, but even now have only scratched the surface. I doubt I’ll ever truly understand how commonplace it is to have family, friends, or co-workers become just another statistic.
I’ve been coming into this little office every day, thinking that it keeps me isolated from the "real" Botswana; that I’d have to get out in the rural areas to see the culture. Today I’ve realized that this is as real as it gets. AIDS has permeated through the society, becoming a part of the culture unto itself. A big part. People wake up every day facing the disease. These people can be farmers, lawyers, doctors, or members of an AIDS service organization. The one thing uniting them is their incredible resolve to fight back.