Monday, November 27, 2006
A Hero is Laid to Rest
Today one of the heroes in the fight against AIDS, Father Angelo D'Agostino, is being buried in Nairobi, Kenya. The 80-year old was an American, a doctor and a feisty Jesuit priest who fought tirelessly for children in Kenya orphaned by AIDS. "Father D'Ag" rescued his kids from the streets of Nairobi, from hospitals where they had been abandoned and from families that could no longer care for them. He built an orphanage called Nyumbani, which means "home" in Swahili.
His legacy will live on. Even this week, a new village at Nyumbani is opening to care for more AIDS orphans. But as we approach World AIDS Day this Friday, it's an appropriate time to think about the work that is still needed.
According to a new report from the United Nations, every eight seconds a person is infected with HIV somewhere in the world. The numbers are staggering: 40 million people are living with HIV today, and 25 million others have already died in the epidemic's 25 years. The disease has slashed life expectancies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where most infections occur in people ages 15-44. Some countries are at risk of losing entire generations, often the most productive people in the prime of their lives - teachers, workers who keep an economy strong, and parents. They leave behind about 12 million children who may not have a home, an education, or perhaps, a future, unless more Father D'Ags come along.
There's much work to be done.
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