Saturday, September 10, 2011

AIDS Epidemic in Africa

Contemporary World Culture

As a parent living in Eritrea in the eastern part of Africa, life is often tiring and stressful. My wife and I have eight children ranging from ages newborn to twelve years old. We live in a modest hut near the edge of our village located in the Northern Red Sea sub-region. We married early and I now work as a fisherman to support our family. I trade some of the fish I catch in our village for vegetables and cloth in order to supply the family with other necessities.
In a typical day, I get up just before sunrise and head down to the Red Sea to meet by brothers and brother in-laws to begin our fishing for the day. My wife gets up at the same time and begins tending to the children. Once they are up, they pick berries and tend to other plants in our small vegetable garden. We eat primarily fish and vegetables, with some local berries that are available during some months of the year. They also go down to our local water source to replenish the buckets of water we have outside of our home. In regards to entertainment, we sing songs that are common to our culture and swim in the sea when fishing is done. Our family gets together with members of our extended family and together we have a feast. Our form of entertainment is definitely local, as we have very little technology in our part of the world, specifically our part of the country.
There are ongoing concerns about ethnic cleansing that is not targeted at my family directly, however it does impact us as we can often are caught in the crossfire. Those who are targeted for ethnic cleansing are the “Eritrean Red Sea Afars, an ethnic minority in with a nomadic life style” that are convinced the Eritrean government is behind the effort to exterminate them (Tekle). The Afars live south of my family in an area that is highly valuable in strategy for defense for the country as well as economic amenities (Tekle).
In addition to the internal conflict, Eritrea is constantly forced to protect their borders and waters from outside intruders. Most recently Yemen fishermen were captured while in Eritrean water territory. The Yemen foreign minister coordinated their release with President Isayas Afewerki and the Eritrean government (BBC October 19, 2010). The water is a valuable resource to Eritrea and it must be protected as much as the land.
Although there are many struggles my family and I endure, the most imminent concern is whether or not we have enough food for everyone. We have lost three of our children already to disease and lack of resources. Last year there was a shortage of food, however this year is much worse (BBC October 16, 2010). Food aid is not available to us this year so we will be reliant on what we can grow, trade, and fish for.
As our children get older, we worry about the widespread AIDS epidemic. In Eritrea, the region in which my family lives, the Northern Red Sea region, has the highest growth rate for AIDS in all of Eritrea (BBC October 13, 2010). My wife and I have been fortunate enough to have not contracted the virus, but as our children marry (some in a few years) we worry that they might find themselves with this disease. If they contract the disease, then so will our grandchildren. This will impact our family line and has the potential to eliminate our family tree.

Digest of reports from Eritrea's Hadas Eritrea newspaper of 13 October. (15  October
2010). BBC Monitoring Africa. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand.
Eritrea denies being hit by famine, starvation.” (16 October 2010). BBC Monitoring
Africa. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand.
Eritrea releases 68 Yemeni fishermen.” (19  October 2010). BBC Monitoring Middle East. Retrieved October 27, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand.
Johnson, June. Global Issues, Local Arguments: Readings for Writing. New York:
Tekle, Tesfa-Alem Tekle.  (24  October 2010). Eritrea's exiled Afar opposition deny they
intend to secede. McClatchy - Tribune Business News, Retrieved October 27, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand.