June 6, 2005
This week when we went to our Ndirande Session I learned that one of our attendees had died. Wicke had heard that Patricia was gravely ill and went to her home to visit her, but was told that she had already passed away. Patricia had a lame leg and only came once or twice that I can remember because of her poor health.
Here in Malawi, no one will say, “She died of AIDS.” Instead they tell you, she died of pneumonia or TB. This is partially true, because the AIDS patients’ immune systems are extremely susceptible to these diseases. They are unable to fight the infections and die, but if they had not had AIDS, they would not have died. AIDS is the real killer and until people are willing to admit that, I fear that the epidemic will get worse.
I can not tell you for sure that Patricia died of AIDS, but she was a beautiful young woman whose body was emaciated and eyes were sunken and sad. We mourn her loss.