There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey To Rescue Africa's Children
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There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey To Rescue Africa's Children

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,906 ratings  ·  331 reviews
"When Haregewoin Teferra's husband and twenty-three-year-old daughter died within a few years of each other, her middle-class life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was shattered. Bereft and with little to live for, Haregewoin became a recluse. Her self-imposed exile was interrupted when a priest delivered first one, then another, orphaned child into her care. To everyone's surpri...more
Published (first published September 5th 2006)
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Having completed the book, here are my thoughts. Everybody should read this book. When you say millions of AIDS orphans, it doesn't really mean anything. When you come to know a few, their thoughts, their experiences, their fears and dreams, the numbers take on a face and they mean something. It is much better to understand one individual in depth than millions without faces.

You fall in love with some of these children. Most parents wanted to adopt baby girls. Do you know who were wi...more
May 10, 2008 Marci rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: favoritebooks
This book really taught me a lot both intellectually and personally. It taught me that I haven't the first clue about poverty, the orphan crisis, about Africa and about AIDS. The author writes in a journalistic style about a current day Ethiopian woman who after the death of her husband and later her daughter decides to enter a life of hermitude. As she goes to say her good byes to a priest friend he asks her to take in a street girl and care for her. She reluctantly says yes. With in a few mont...more
This is the book that is causing me to rethink my life and try to decide if I am living a meaningful life. Am I doing enough good or should I sell my possessions, move to Africa or India and dedicate my life to something more useful than having a socially conscious job and owning a home.

Haregewoin Teferra was a middle class woman in Ethiopia, a professional woman with an husband who was a teacher and two beautiful and beloved daughters. After her husband passes away she raises her daughters to a...more
To be honest I found a lot of the writing a bit too speculative - telling us about how children felt, when the author was not there, let alone in the mind of the child concerned. But that is only a minor quibble. This is an amazing story about an amazing Ethiopian woman - Haregewoin Teferra - who took lots of children orphaned by AIDS, into her home.

I very much like the way the author interspersed the story with theories about how AIDS may have come into being, and the fantastic politics of the...more
I experienced several starts and stops with this book—not because it’s poorly written or dull, but because it’s very sad. The relationship between how sad I find a book and how many times I have to put it down to check on my sleeping children is a directly proportional one. I checked on my children a lot while reading this book, watching their little backs rise and fall and counting their laborious REM-sleep breaths to make sure all was well with them. I remember, as a kid, rolling my eyes at my...more
I wasn't anticipating the emotional journey this book would take me on. I've been sad, angry, happy, bereft, indignant, heartbroken, despairing, hopeful, and just about every other emotion you can imagine while I've been reading it.
I'm so moved by the true-life heroine of this book, Haregewoin Teferra who turned her grief after losing her husband and a daughter into a mission to rescue as many of the thousands of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia as she could handle, and then some. The author doesn't pai...more
After reading Melissa Fay Greene's funny No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, I picked up this earlier book about the woman who runs the orphanage from which some of Green's children came. Somehow I missed it when it came out, despite its winning a slew of awards that year. It is a powerful book, and it took me a long time to finish it because I needed time to absorb its impact. The book is not maudlin nor manipulative, but its subject, AIDS orphans, is tragic.

Greene is an excellent writer,...more
This is an eye-opening book about AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Melissa Fay Greene particularly focuses on the efforts of one woman who cares for those orphans. Haregewoin Teferra was one of the few refuges for AIDS orphans in the earlier days of the pandemic. Greene's tale doesn't seek to make Haregewoin into a saint, but shows her in all her courage and also her limited ability to handle the incredible task she takes on. When the Western world begins to laud Haregewoin for her deeds, Greene also s...more
Much like Half the Sky, this was one of those books I often found myself wishing everyone would read. Briefly speaking, in There is No Me Without You, journalist Melissa Fay Greene explores the history of HIV/AIDS, the subsequent plight in Africa (more specifically, Ethiopia), and how one woman reached out and tried to bring about change. Insightful, educational and inspiring.
Eileen Souza
This is one of the most profound, informative, and life-altering books that I have ever read. If I could give it six stars, I would.

I started reading this book because I’m a prospective adoptive parent, looking to adopt from Ethiopia. I could not have picked a better book to explain the history and reality of HIV as well as the impact on the children of Ethiopia.

This non-fiction work is a story told in two parts. The first aspect of the book covers the history of the development of HIV/AIDS, how...more
Only having time to read a few pages per day, this book took me a long time to finish. But as I read, I was constantly pulled closer. Closer to the stories of children becoming lost, and becoming found again. Closer to the story of a woman just like the rest of us who gave everything to save the few children she could. And closer to the big picture that is the global AIDS epidemic. Before long, I wasn't able to sit down and read without consuming 15-20 pages at a time.

Melissa Fay Greene pulls of...more
I was sad to finish this book. If we ever do adopt from Ethiopia, which is a growing dream of mine:
1) I want to purchase a copy of this book for each child we adopt;
2) I want my husband to read this book;
3) I want to refer everyone who asks "why?" we would adopt to this book.

Greene's journalistic style weaves the life of a woman literally sucked into orphan rescue (Haregewoin Teferra's), statistical analysis, vignettes of the children's lives, global politics, Ethiopian history, causes/ developm...more
I had a difficult time putting this book down. It is the story of an Ethiopian woman (Haregewoin), who is modestly comfortable (financially) for the first half of her life, experiences a great personal loss and ends up taking in an orphaned child. Six weeks later, Haregewoin takes in another orphan, then another, until she finds herself unable to say "no" to requests for help. An orphanage results, she struggles to make ends meet and her life is no longer her own. Despite this, Greene (the autho...more
Dec 17, 2008 Kay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kay by: NY Times Book Review
This is one of the most important books I've read this year, maybe this decade. It is a true story of corruption and AIDS, not as a generality, but as a disease that can erase a country if not a continent unless our help gets to whom it needs to go. It is a story of how each individual person, doing what is within their ability to do, can make a change. This is the book our young people need to be reading.....not the fantasy world of Twilight.
Melissa Fay Green is one of my favorite writers of what I call popular ethnographic nonfiction. Praying for Sheetrock introduced me to some of the racial politics of Georgia, and held me spellbound. Similarly, There Is No Me Without You informed, challenged, and made heart-achingly human the AIDS epidemic in Africa, specifically Ethiopia, and the children who are the collateral damage in that poorly-waged war. Greene details the inception, spread, inadequate treatment, and countless human storie...more
David Quinn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a powerful book about the Aids epidemic in Ethiopia and all the children who have become orphans because of this disease.
An inspiring book, and one I would have finished if I hadn't left for vacation when I was on page 145.
A moving, heartlifting account of how an Ethiopian woman handles AIDS, orphans and adoption.
This book is so well written- it educates the reader on the tragic AID epidemic in Ethiopia, the staggering numbers of orphans and the millions of HIV positive children and adults. The stories are gut wrenching and tore my heart apart. Yet, there is such a resilience in children, and that is where the beauty comes into this story. The author also follows and Ethiopian woman gripped with grief who finds healing in helping the orphaned children of Ethiopia. I felt so many emotions while reading th...more
For some reason I seem to be tearing through the adoption section of the library, which is leading to a lot of nervous side-eye on the part of my s.o.

But this is less a book about adoption than it is about the terrible impact of AIDS in Africa and the sloooow struggle, usually by individuals rather than organisations, to care for those either left behind or on the road to an AIDS-related death themselves. Greene provides a lot of HIV/AIDS history here, and if sometimes it felt like more detail t...more
In a similar style to "And the Band Played On", this story outlines international policies, countrywide stigma, and global disregard for those living and dying of HIV/AIDS everyday in Ethiopia. The author weaves policy and science into the true story of one woman who makes it her personal mission to provide a safe home for hundreds who are orphaned as a result of AIDS, many who are HIV positive themselves. The author did a fantastic job at unfolding many personal stories of these children, while...more
A very powerful story of a middle-class woman who began to take in orphans and abandoned children in Ethiopia before it was a culturally acceptable thing to do! This book is moving on a number of levels - reading the individual sagas of these orphans is gripping, but hearing their stories set against the staggering condition of children in a country ravaged by poverty and HIV/AIDS is almost incredible. The need is so massive (in many cases, unnecessarily so - from dictators who orchestrated fami...more
Here is my story about this book: I had put it on hold at the library and it came in and I kept walking past it on my bookcase, thinking that I must have read a review of it somewhere and must have wanted to read it, but I was put off by the title -- I was tired of reading "look I went to another country and did all these great things aren't I wonderful?" types of books and that's what the title brought to mind.... so I avoided it and started reading some of the other books I had on my stack, in...more
Powerfully written, There is No Me Without You, presents solid research, incomprehensible statistics and the more powerful prose of personal narratives and stories out of Ethiopia giving a face and depth the the HIV/AIDS crisis.

I cannot adequately express how moving and powerful this story was for me. The HIV/AIDS crisis, the cause of orphans and widows are all completely overwhelming and more often than not leave me feeling powerless and hopeless. Greene presents these overwhelming factors alon...more
Book Concierge
Audio book narrated by Julie Fain Lawrence

Consumed by grief at the loss of her husband and oldest daughter, Haregewoin Teferra, a middle-class Ethiopian woman, finds solace in attending daily church services – regardless of denomination – and becomes known to other regular church-goers as a very devout woman. True relief eludes her, however, and she decides to ask the local Orthodox priest to be taken into seclusion, so she can spend her days living in a simple hut near the graves of those she l...more
This book is both heartrending and heartwarming, and so well-written I plan to read the author's other book very soon. It presents the story of Haregewoin, a middle-class Ethiopian woman who began, almost by accident, taking in AIDS orphans, and presents both a window into the AIDS crisis in Africa and a very personal story about a woman who has an amazingly huge heart but is far from superhuman.

The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is because whenever the author veers away from Haregwoin toward l...more
Lori Kincaid
This book was wonderful. I have adopted two children from India, one of whom showed a false HIV+ from her bio-mom upon entering her orphanage. So this book really hit home for me. The author did a wonderful job of taking the overwhelming numbers regarding adults and children sick, dead and orphaned by AIDS and making it personal. I didn't give the book 5 stars because I thought the author sugar-coated the struggles adoptees have after they enter their families. Most post-institutionalized childr...more
Michelle Llewellyn
OK, I admit I only read up to chapter 17 before I put the book down. Noble an act as Haregewoin's decision was to open her home to AIDS orphans and as much as I appreciated the author's facinating inclusion of the history of how AIDS came to be spread in Africa, it was Haregewoin's backstory that troubled me. Something was left out. Why did she even get married in the first place? Why was she so blase about who her daughter married until that daughter was suddenly on her deathbed?
It just breaks...more
Wow! Even after nearly 15 hours of listening I was captivated by this story. Because I listened to this and didn't read it I can't use names but in essence it is the story of an Ethiopian woman, who after suffering the death of a beloved husband and then not long after watching her daughter die is so grief stricken she decides to live her life in seclusion filling her days with prayer and meditation. As she makes the rounds to the various churches she prays in the priests ask if she would please...more
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Great African Reads: Mar/Apr: Ethiopia | "There is No Me Without You" 35 48 Sep 29, 2011 03:32AM  
  • The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope
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  • Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood
  • The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family
  • My Fathers' Daughter
  • In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories
  • 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
  • Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
  • Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
  • Initiation
  • Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali
  • Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents
  • Do They Hear You When You Cry
  • God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir
  • Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur
  • The Urantia Book
  • The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
Melissa Greene has been a contributor to NPR, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, LIFE, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Readers Digest, Ms., The Wilson Quarterly, Redbook, and She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Don Samuel, a criminal defense attorney. They have been married for 28 years and are the parents of nine children: Molly, Seth, Lee, Lily, Jesse (adopted...more
More about Melissa Fay Greene...
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“So how does it happen that -- while most people instinctively try to save themselves and their families from a catastrophe -- a few slow down, look back, and suddenly reach out to strangers? Instead of fleeing in the opposite direction, a few wade into the rising waters to try to yank the drowning onto higher land. ... In the coming months and years, I would learn that -- just as there is no blood test to identify who will jump into the fray -- there is no simple biographical arc either. No resume can predict why this man or woman, at a safe remove from crisis, suddenly announces, "This is my fight.” 1 likes
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