There’s an illustrated, Biblically-based book called Kande’s Story that tells about a twelve year old girl’s experiences and challenges caused by the deaths of both her father and mother to AIDS. Kande is left with the responsibilities of caring for herself and her five siblings and finding ways to supply food and shelter. They are blessed by church members in the community who help provide for their needs.
The plot of Kande’s Story seems simple and straightforward, but the problems it addresses are enormous and complex. In 2005, an estimated 510,000 people in Cameroon had HIV or AIDS, and approximately 240,000 children under seventeen years of age were living with the loss of at least one parent due to the diseases.
Open discussions of HIV and AIDS is still taboo in some African communities, but Kande’s Story helps to open some of those lines of communication. Translated into the local language, the story is a culturally acceptable way for Africans to learn about the diseases and ways that the virus is transmitted and can be prevented.
I’m excited to know that I may be able to utilize Kande’s Story, just like is already occurring in East and Central Africa, to initiate discussions on the very relevant medical issues of HIV and AIDS so that I can then teach in depth about the effects of the diseases and prevention of its transmission.