If You Want To Make God Laugh - Bianca Marais
"And in that moment, it doesn't matter that she is dying or that he is sick. It doesn't matter that their entire lives and all their struggles amount to less than the blink of an eye in the greater scheme of things. What matters in that brief shiny moment is that they are there at all and that their hearts beat in proximity to each other. Each day is a blessing; each breath of air, a gift. She doesn't know how much time she has left. All she knows is that she will fill it with loving her son with every fiber of her being.
She will love him so completely that love is all he remembers even after loss is all he knows. She can only hope that it will be enough."
The adage "write what you know" could not ring more true for the author of this book, who drew from her nine years of work with the women of Soweto, South Africa and the abandoned HIV-positive children there. Bianca was also present at The International Aids Conference in July of 2000, where she witnessed the key note speaker, 11 year old Nkosi Johnson, appeal to then President Thabo Mbeki (an AIDS denialist), to allow AZT to be administered to pregnant HIV-positive mothers. Nkosi was born with HIV and he lost his mother to the disease when he was just seven years old. He implored President Mbeki to "Care for us and accept us" saying "We are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands, we have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else - don't be afraid of us - we are all the same." Witnessing this 11 year old boy boldly challenge his leaders left an indelible mark on Bianca, as did the President's reaction. Midway through Nkosi's passionate speech, the President and the entire delegation stood up and walked out.
At it's heart, If You Want to Make God Laugh is a gut wrenching story that examines the best and worst of humanity. It is about the way we love - as mothers, as friends, as lovers, and as members of the human race. It is about fiercely grasping on to hope even when it seems that there is none and it spotlights the continual fight for basic human rights in societies that still shun those who are affected by HIV and AIDS.
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