Saturday, October 6, 2012

Our Kind of People-Uzodinma Iweala

Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope-Uzodinma Iweala

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 219
gender: M
nationality: Nigeria
year: 2012
Non fiction

"HIV/AIDS has been reported as one of the most destructive diseases in recent memory—tearing apart communities and ostracizing the afflicted. But the emphasis placed on death, destruction, and despair hardly captures the many and varied effects of the epidemic, or the stories of the extraordinary people who live and die under its watch."

A not-depressing book about HIV/AIDS in Africa? Say it isn't so. The point was to counter prevailing white people ideas about the poor suffering promiscuous Africans with nuances and first hand stories giving an indication of the variety of experiences that exist. At times it was mostly just a calling out of the attitudes Western media really tries to keep strong but it also provided a better framework to understand, for example why HIV spread so dramatically perhaps due to the prevalence of polygamy. But rather than leave it there, Iweala provides a cultural primer to understand better what the African practice of polygamy entails rather than just assuming that there's a cross-cultural understanding. Which is great because my idea of polygamy doesn't exactly jive with the African practice and so I found it invaluable. Iweala puts the blame on everyone-the delayed governmental response, the conservatism that has naught to do with realities, and the stigmas placed on the ill.

Ok so maybe this was most informative because I'm a little white girl who has lived in the United States for most of my life and not exactly ground breaking but I thought it great for anyone who recognizes the giant gap that exists within our first world perceptions and the reality of life. The humanization of the problem allows for the hope of a gradual solution.

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