Originally a middle-class woman with a happy family life, Haregewoin fell into a deep depression after the death of her recently married daughter. But then a priest brought her two children, AIDS orphans, with nowhere to go. Unexpectedly, the children thrived, and Haregewoin found herself drawn back into daily life. As word got out, an endless stream of children began to arrive at her door, delivered by dying parents and other relatives who begged for her help. Pushing the limits of her home and bank account, she took in more and more.
Today, Haregewoin runs a school, a daycare system, and a shelter for sick mothers. Without medication for her charges - some HIV-positive, some uninfected, and some infants trying to fight off the virus, but almost all of whom come to her terrified and malnourished - she forges on, caring for as many as she can handle. Increasingly, she also places them for adoption with families like that of journalist Melissa Fay Greene, who has two children adopted from Ethiopia. In Haregewoin Tefarra's story, Greene gives us an astonishing portrait of a woman fighting a continent-wide epidemic.
"This searing account humanizes the statistics through heartbreaking, intimate stories of what it is like for young orphans left alone in Ethiopia....The detail of one lost child at a time, who finds love, laughter, comfort, and connection, opens up the universal meaning of family." (Booklist)