1000 Kwacha


LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — The two 1,000 Kwacha notes I passed on to my friend to give each of her young children seemed almost like a joke gift, as I suggested they not spend them all in one place.

They are, after all, worth 25 cents each.

Then I remembered the little boys, as small and eager-eyed as my American friend’s little boy, who offer to watch my car here in hopes of such a reward. They can spend it all in one place, and then it’s not nearly enough to fill the needs, let alone the little hopes of childhood.

While I recognize that not all children can be born to the same resources and advantages, I am reminded that when we ignore the human rights to basic health care, we also ignore the promise of children to deliver the best of what humanity has yet to offer.

Here, in the land of the donor dollar turned industry not just for the recipient but for the giver, programs that promise “PMTCT” (prevention of mother to child transmission of the virus that leads to AIDS), and VCT (voluntary counseling and testing for the virus that leads to AIDS), while ignoring the need to basic health services, including family planning and care, fall closer to lip service than reality.


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