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Agnes, AIDS, Bush, and Bono

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Bono was in town the other night and had a small thank-you party for friends and allies to celebrate some successes in Africa with regard to poverty, AIDS, and other pandemic diseases. Joy and I went along, and it was nice to connect with him again. He gave a few remarks about signs of hope, even in the midst of so much still to do.


But there was another speaker. Agnes Nyamayarwo is a Ugandan nurse who has become an amazing activist in the battle against AIDS. She is HIV positive herself, lost her husband to AIDS, and unknowingly transmitted the disease to her unborn son, who also subsequently died. But Agnes is woman full of hope. Joy and I got to spend some time with her and heard her story.


Agnes is an extraordinary woman and a person of deep faith. "When I had nothing else left," she told us, "I learned to walk with God." She is very grateful to the American people for the aid that made possible the HIV/AIDS treatment that saved her life. There are 1.34 million Africans now on lifesaving drugs, thanks to U.S. efforts -- the most important thing the Bush administration has done. Here is a woman who has lost her husband and two sons, yet she has become a powerful activist and bright beacon of hope -- all of which she attributes to her faith. When George Bush visited her country, the leader of the free world gave Agnes a big hug. And she whispered in his ear, "What about the global fund?" (the international AIDS fund that still needs more investment). Agnes has an agenda and a faith and both are very substantial.

Jim Wallis is the Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at www.godspolitics.com.

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