Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Kenya: story of family devastated by HIV/AIDS

Every once in a while, newspapers do profiles of African families struggling with the devasation of HIV/AIDS. This story is from the Washington Post.
In the Luo culture, there is no bigger event than a funeral feast. To honor the life of the dead, relatives, friends and just hungry people often travel long distances to attend.

The funerals are often larger than weddings and involve an ample feast, at the expense of the family's few animals and meager savings. The tradition has become a new burden for AIDS orphans: When the relatives and friends go home, the orphans are left with nothing to eat.

In Africa, where a cow or a flock of chickens is as good as money in the bank, they are left with nothing to sell. They don't even have eggs or milk after their animals are killed.
This isn't just a Luo tradition. Funeral feasts are a part of many African cultures. And though I love the generousity of African culture ... and believe in respecting tradition ... you figure something HAS GOT to give.