Today I went to a township several miles away in the countryside. I was surprised at how much the countryside here looks like rural California. We visited a modest home where a woman was taking care of her daughter who was suffering from AIDS. The caregiver was there to bathe her. Both women wouldn't or couldn't admit that there was a problem.
When we went into the bedroom the mother indicated to me that her daughter was crazy, wouldn't talk, and hated her. Because of the lack of rubber gloves the caregiver wrapped plastic bags over her hands for protection during the bathing.
I was sent outside when the bathing began and went to stand at the door in the sun. While standing there an older gentleman walked up smoking a pipe and looked rather surprised to see me.
He asked me if I spoke Afrikan. He spoke a little English. He told me he was born in 1927. We laughed because he looked and acted much younger and he thought I did also. He disappeared for a minute and when he returned from the house he had his passport to prove his age. We laughed again because he still didn't believe my age.
He returned to the house and brought out a picture album that had only two pictures, one of him when he was young and another of his wife when she was young. He then brought out two very large photos of a young man in a military uniform and told me that it was his son. He was very proud showing me the pictures.
I was afraid to ask him where his son was. I then realized that the lady I had talked to was his wife and that things were not going well in the household.
He started talking to one of the caregivers and said that he was the one who was taking care of his daughter, not his wife. He got very emotional and tears welled up in his eyes as he showed his frustration and hopelessness. He then turned and walked away because he didn't want me to see him that way.