From the Editors; May 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Ezzell; 1 Page(s)
Covering AIDS in Africa is like watching mass murder in slow motion, so I probably didn't maintain enough professional objectivity for my own good. As a science writer, I don't have to wear emotional armor very often. Before I went to Zimbabwe for the article beginning on page 96, I had talked to other reporters who had spent time in Africa. All told me to brace myself for the orphans--many of whom had contracted the AIDS virus from their mothers--and the strong, futile desire to make everything all right for them.
Then again, nothing could have prepared me for the visit to a cr¿che for AIDS orphans in Harare, where one sick, smiling four-year old boy tried to keep up with the other kids playing ring-around-the-rosy but was so weak he kept slumping to the floor. Or meeting a 25-year-old unmarried girl who cares for her two-year-old nephew even though her only income is from growing and selling a few vegetables at the local market. The boy is the son of a married man who impregnated her young sister and gave her AIDS and who now will not acknowledge his son. The boy, who calls his aunt "Mama," was too listless even to take the piece of banana I offered.