Thursday, 15 November 2007

Grandmothers and AIDS

Grandmothers and what? you might say... What do grandmothers have to do with AIDS?

Well, in Africa, as I've mentioned previously, many grandmothers are raising their grandchildren because their own children have died from HIV/AIDS.

Of course, numbers of their children did not have to die if they could have had access to the current "cocktail" of drugs that enables many AIDS patients to live much longer, healthier lives. The problem, as you no doubt are aware, has been pharmaceutical companies unwillingness to make the cheap forms of these "drug cocktails" available plus the reluctance on the part of many groups and governments within Africa to talk about HIV/AIDS openly and admit what really causes its transmission.

I have been thinking a lot about this whole problem again recently because I decided to do two new drawings. This first one [above] is called "Canadian Grandmother" and is taken from a photo of a Canadian grandmother who has been instrumental in doing some of the initial groundwork in forming the Mothers (Grandmothers) for African Grandmothers. The various local chapters of this organization do different types of fund raising and use the money raised to assist African grandmothers who are courageously raising all their grandchildren single-handedly without the assistance of social programs such as we have in Canada.

If you would like more information about finding a group close to you or starting a group yourself, there is some information on the Internet or you could write me and I could put you in contact with people who either have some answers or know where to get them.

This next drawing is one of the grandmothers being helped. She is also very active in her own community in South Africa. As well, she and the Canadian grandmother shown above are acquainted.

It is my understanding that grandmothers in South Africa are called GoGo. I am not sure why or where the name comes from or even how widespread its use is since South Africa is a country of a number of different tribal languages.

I thought about using GoGo as part of the title for this drawing, but then remembered that I had already used it previously... so, falling back on my usual creative abilities, I decided to name it "South African Grandmother". See, I haven't lost my touch!

Finally, I want to show you once again the very first drawing I did of an African grandmother.

This one is cleverly named "An African Grandmother" and was used for a time by the local chapter of Mothers for African Grandmothers as their card for writing their invitations and thank you notes as well as for selling as a means of fund-raising. I noticed recently that they had a bulletin up on our notice board about a planned meeting -- the first one of those that I have seen for some time. So, maybe they will be asking for some more copies of their card.

Blessings and peace.

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