A novel of tragedy and hope set in AIDS-torn Ethiopia. When Haregwoin Teferra’s husband and daughter died within a few years of each other, her life is shattered and she becomes a recluse. But then a priest delivers an orphan to her door. The another, and another… and together they thrive.
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The distinguished author of Praying for Sheetrock and two-time National Book award finalist puts a human face on the AIDS crisis in Africa.
When Haregwoin Teferra’s husband and 23-year-old daughter died within a few years of each other, her middle-class life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was shattered. Bereft and with little to live for, Haregwoin became a recluse. Her self-imposed exile to a hut near her daughter’s grave was interrupted when a priest delivered first one, then another, orphaned teenager into her care. To everyone’s surprise, the children thrived, and so did Haregwoin. As word spread, children of all ages began to appear at her modest home: an infant brought by a dying mother, an orphaned brother and sister whose grandfather was too poor to feed them, a baby left on her doorstep. Haregwoin’s small compound became known as the rare place where ailing parents and impoverished families could safely leave their children. Soon Haregwoin was caring for sixty children, running an unofficial orphanage and day school, and learning first-hand about her country’s and her continent’s greatest challenge: the AIDS pandemic that is leaving millions of children without parents to care for them.
With the flair and grace of a novelist and the reportorial instincts of a seasoned journalist, Melissa Fay Greene gets to the heart of the AIDS crisis, in a story that is nevertheless one of hope. There Is No Me Without You is the story of Haregwoin and her children: a story of struggle and despair, but also of the triumph of saved lives, and the renewed happiness of children welcomed by adoptive parents in Ethiopia, America, and around the world. Haregewoin’s remarkable story convinces us that the crisis in Africa touches every one of us in some fundamental way. At heart, this book is about children and the parents they need to care for them