In loving memories of those we have lost & to those who struggle everyday…

When in the mid 80’s the phenomenon of AIDS started getting an exposure, homosexuals have been unfairly stigmatized as possible vectors of the Sexually Transmitted Disease. The sad evolution of the figures proved when the infected populations widened up to women & children to the society’s bigot that even they could contract the “Gay disease”. Throughout the years, luckily, the appearance of tri therapy as well as prevention campaigns towards sensitive populations helped reduce the progress of the statistics. Unfortunately African Continent didn’t get as lucky as the rest of the world .When the rest of the planet was improving its prevalence rates as well as contamination statistics, vulnerable populations such as mothers & children got more & more infected to the point that some countries like Botswana lost a great percentage of its working forces sadly filling the country with more & more HIV positive orphans. In Botswana alone, 33% of the population is infected by the virus. Ben, a very close Zimbabwean friend told me he lost most of his teenage friends from AIDS. I will not go on with figures & stats are they are available all over the net & publications. Those statistics are the official face of AIDS, filling reports & hospitals. The face we see from afar as if she will never turn & look at us face to face. Personally my first physical encounter with Aids was in Nairobi in 1986 at the Hospital. I still have the image of that sick person that has been haunting me for the last 20 years. I was just a teenager, but I kept that souvenir as a testimony. But what I didn’t know is that I would lose some close friends from that deadly disease, & overall I have a very courageous Cameroonian friend who has survived all these years scrupulously taking his treatment. So this is the other face of AIDS I wanted to talk about, the face of our close friends who lost their husbands, wives or even children infected by HIV. For me,this face is also the smiling face of a strong beautiful young Lady of my acquaintances who has been infected by her late husband & lost one of her son. Her other son, aged 17 is infected like her. She does have the means to finance her treatment but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve our compassion. Few weeks ago, she was invited to a party & one of those negative people who saw her with a handsome date decided she had to inform the Guy that Z. is infected with HIV. Did she have the right to involve herself in that? Especially that Z. always informs all her date of her health & proposes condoms before any sexual act. My point here is that AIDS has a face in your family or among your friends so stop doing as if it is just statistics. We as Africans are more than ever the number one actors in that tragedy. So stop discriminating, judging or condemning because tomorrow it could be closer to you than you thought. Step up in the plate & involve yourself in prevention or contribute to one’s treatment. Few condoms distributed to your home staff or financing a local NGO doesn’t cost much but it will sure make a difference.

The price of beauty

Nowadays if you don’t like your nose , your boobs or any other part of your body, you can pay to improve their looks & get a plastic surgey. But in the case of Solange Magnano, it ended up costing her the highest price: her life. Her story moved me a lot as she was about my age & also the mother of twins’ aged 7. Also like millions of women throughout the world, she wanted a perfect body at all cost. She will not see her kids grow to become young adults then women, as she died while having a surgery for buttocks implants. It may sound sarcastic but it is even more of a drama when you know that Solange was a Miss Argentina Universe in 1994, & she still looked perfectly beautiful to me. BUT. She just didn’t feel comfortable with herself. If I had 1/5th of her body i would certainly be grateful . Even though, in South America to look good means to have a perfect body is a MUST. And in recent years I have come across more & more African women who go through lipo , nose jobs or boob jobs in order to get the look of their dreams. More & more clinic open in Dakar & Abidjan catering such needs & even Kinshasa has its IVO PITANGUI who did few of my friends boobs as well as practised few lipos . When I see the pain they all went through, I get extra motivations to stick to my exercise & protein diet routine. Even though I can understand the deep moral relief it does bring to some. As a matter of fact, a new nose can be a life changing experience & I have seen a friend of mine shift into a new woman after she had the breast she always wanted. My sisters, I don’t want to sound cliché but European & African standards of beauty are not the same & Fortunately most of us won’t have to go for buttocks implants. In case you judge it necessary to have a surgery, remember that so many less invasive techniques are available now to sculpt your dream shape & many of them don’t require an anesthesia so make some research & talk to friends who may recommend a good, safe & experienced plastic surgeon. Beware, there are so many butchers out there. Accidents do happen in all case but make sure that the change you are about to make is worth the pain. Remember Late First Lady Stella Obansanjo died whilst going through a plastic surgery procedure. Check if you are not allergic to some substances & inform yourself as much as you can. Otherwise consider some slimming clinic like Buchinger in Marbella, & make exercising one of your 2010 resolutions. Look in the mirror & smile at yourself because you are Beautiful.
One Love. ©Naboulove.