Monday, July 18, 2005Download All Stories
Missing generation: South African AIDS epidemic leaves elderly raising the children
SOUTH AFRICA (BP)--Children run wildly up and down the path -- turning cartwheels and chattering along the way. Several steps behind, their granny walks stiffly, holding onto her oldest granddaughter's arm for a steadiness she hasn't had in years.
The contrast between youth and the elderly is drastic in this country. An entire middle generation is missing, creating the huge gap. HIV/AIDS wreaks its havoc in South Africa almost daily.
"People are dying and no one wants to talk about the cause," a South African grandmother says as a bell tolls five times in the background. The ringing bell signals to the rest of the village that someone just died. "Every day that bell rings and every Saturday we go to funerals. Our young people are dying like never before."
A South African survey published in March 2004 shows that South Africans spend more time at funerals than they do having their hair cut, shopping or grilling out. It found that over twice as many people had been to a funeral in the past month as had been to a wedding. It is estimated that about 600 people in South Africa die of HIV-related illnesses each day.
The missing generation can be found if you look hard enough. Many are buried beneath fresh graves. To find others, take a stroll to the backrooms of flimsy, tin shacks dotting the country. Emaciated and weak, this missing generation barely makes a wrinkle under blankets.
"I wouldn't wish this fate on anyone," says Margret Sithole, a young adult who volunteers as a home-care worker for HIV patients. "My peers are dying. Soon there will not be enough left in this age group to take care of the children or the elderly." Read More
Abstinence in midst of pressure possible, African teens learn
Mr. AIDS has arrived!
He's made his appearance in most of the children's lives already. They watch their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers suffer and die from AIDS. However, this is the first time they can actually ask Mr. AIDS questions.
One timid student asks if there's a cure for AIDS.
"No!" hisses Mr. AIDS. "Once I come into your life ... you die!"
The masked man is part of a True Love Waits presentation sponsored by the Mmametlhake Family Care-Centre in South Africa. The group of young adults presents skits, talks about HIV and answers questions as a way to promote awareness. In a country where condoms are the most common form of disease prevention, these volunteers preach abstinence. Read More
LIFE DIGEST: Senate nears embryonic stem cell vote; Ill. gov. outflanks legislature; FDA sets ruling on ‘morning-after’ pill
WASHINGTON (BP)--The U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on a bill to provide federal funds for research that destroys human embryos, and the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics entity is seeking to curb support for the measure. Read More
'What Christian brothers do'; kidney transplant saves life
CHICAGO (BP)--"This is what's expected of brothers. We are not strangers. We are brothers." Such are not only the words, but also the actions, of ministers Charles "Charlie" Jones of Chicago and Doug Morrow of the Illinois Baptist Children's Home and Family Services. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: The disappearance of church discipline, Part 1
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--The decline of church discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church. No longer concerned with maintaining purity of confession or lifestyle, the contemporary church sees itself as a voluntary association of autonomous members, with minimal moral accountability to God, much less to each other.
FIRST-PERSON: Sharing truth with an ever-emerging culture
LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)--In ministry, some things must never change but others must change constantly. Read More