The Heaven Shop
Binti and the other characters in Deborah Ellis’ The Heaven Shop, continually impressed me with their courage and their spirit as they continually adapted to traumatic events and problems associated with poverty, HIV, and AIDS in Africa. What most impressed me was how Binti found her courage and her spirit by sticking together closely with the characters that she needed and those that in turn, needed her. After Binti loses both of her parents to AIDS she becomes separated from her brother and her sister. Though Binti encounters bad situation after bad situation, she inevitable is reunited with her siblings and offers comfort to others outside of her blood relations by sticking together.
The theme of togetherness is strong throughout the book. Perhaps this idea struck such a strong note with me because I too seek the help of others and find comfort in seeking their support and care and feel that there is hope in sticking together. The idea of togetherness is strong in this book as it is in the reality of HIV and AIDS. People from all walks of life find themselves having to cope with the same problems that inspired Deborah Ellis to write The Heaven Shop. These problems plague people on a global scale to the point that the virus and the disease have reached pandemic proportions and show no signs of slowing down in Africa or elsewhere. Everyday people that are living the life that Binti lead in The Heaven Shop, often find strength, comfort, and support by sticking together with other people that are afflicted with the virus/disease and by sticking together with those of us that don’t have the virus/disease. A recent ad campaign initiated by Kenneth Cole states that “We all have AIDS if one of us does.” In other words, if there is to be hope for the real life Bintis in Malawi or for those infected throughout the world, that hope lies in the global community sticking together.
I found myself trying to visualize what the environment that the characters existed in looked like. The descriptions were very thorough but I had a need to actually see what the dress would look like, what the typical children looked like and where exactly Malawi was. The Theme image was a great way to support the main idea of togetherness that I tapped into from the book, while allowing me to incorporate imagery from Malawi using the Internet.
The slides convey the idea of togetherness while showing the reality that is HIV/AIDS in Africa, specifically HIV/AIDS in Malawi. In addition to visualizing Malawi, I wanted to research some statistical information regarding HIV/AIDS in Malawi and have incorporated a slide showing the percentage of adults in each African country (ages 15-49) with HIV/AIDS. My research also educated me about the various relief efforts that are attempting to help those people suffering in Malawi. Malawi HIV/AIDS Policy