Friday, November 21, 2008


Mr. Nkhosi, a contracted employee in the World Relief Office died Friday-before-last of AIDS. He was a regular presence in the office and a friend. My first day on the job was also his and I've known him for as long as I've been here.

I was in Monkey Bay when I got the call that he had died. By the time it came through I was already missing the funeral for which I was really depressed. It's so typical that the white guy would miss a friend's funeral because he was swimming at Cape Maclear. I know there was nothing I could do at that point, but I still feel awful about it.

The whole episode has helped me to comprehend how incomprehensible the problem of AIDS is. It can kill quickly and slowly (due to whatever it is that is taking advantage of a lack of immunities) and doesn't leave you much time for anything, sometimes not even grief. Sometimes Malawi can feel like a warzone. There are multiple funerals every weekend and at least one is someone who is connected to your family in some way. Grief here is a controlled emotion. There's a time for it, and there's a time to get on with life and there's a hard line in-between. I've heard Malawians accuse Americans of being too sentimental and emotional. They're right, grief is different for us just like the rest of life. I can't really help it though.

Mr. Nkhosi was a good friend and a good man. He left behind a wife and three children. Since meeting and praying with her I can report that she's going through a lot of grief at the moment. We have supported her financially for the expenses of the funeral and then some but she has a hard life ahead of her. She needs prayer and financial support.
As for me, this was an all-too-personal contact with the AIDS crisis. Numbers don't do it justice. The pandemic is very personal for me now. Sometimes it's hard to understand why it exists at all but I know God knows because God knows Nkhosi and Nkhosi knew him. God is with every one of the victims and we should be too.

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