Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


2011 in First Lines

It is traditional here at Charlotte’s Web to review the past year in blogging by posting the first lines from the first post of every month. Having scrolled through my 2011 posts, one thing is clear to me: life took over from blogging this year. After moving house in January, I spent many long hours revising Balthasar’s Gift, many hours pounding the pavements training for the Mannheim team marathon, many hours planning and giving two weekend-long creative writing workshops at Heidelberg University and then, in July, starting a six-month job posting at one of my customers replacing someone out on maternity leave. It was quite a year!

January: So I’ve reviewed my goals for 2010 and found them to be good.  Ten Things for 2011

February: One of the most appealing things about Germany is its cafe society; places where you can nurse a coffee, read a book and watch the world go by.  Cafe Society

March: Today is the anniversary of the death of Herbert James Downs, who was murdered in South Africa a few weeks after his 100th birthday.  In Memory of Herbert James Downs

April: Life has taken over from blogging – nothing serious, but an accumulation of things over the past three months that have left me exhausted.   Hiatus

May: May is turning out to be quite the month chez moi, which means my presence here at Charlotte’s Web will continue to be vague, scattered and somewhat erratic.  May Madness

June: While reading to the creative writing students about voice this weekend, I found myself getting a little choked up.  More on Voice

July: I’ve just come back from a week in Mallorca, having found its quiet, laid-back corner (it still exists) and am feeling horizontal.  Feeling Horizontal

August:  So I’m back in full time work for the first time this century, and I am loving it.  Three Things I Love about Work

September: Still loving work, so that’s a good thing.  On Women and Work

October: My grandmother was not only an angel, but she was more than a little fey. Survival Skills

November:  My life has changed exponentially – and for the better – since I re-entered the working world. What Feminist Motherhood Means to Me (Now)

December: The theme of today’s World AIDS Day is ‘Getting to Zero’ (zero new infections; zero discrimination; zero AIDS-related deaths)’.    World AIDS Day 2011 – Are There Any Good News Stories?

What was your 2011 like?


World AIDS Day 2011: Are There Any Good News Stories?

The theme of today’s World AIDS Day is ‘Getting to Zero’ (zero new infections; zero discrimination; zero AIDS-related deaths)’. While we all know that the statistics are devastating and sad, and that we are a long way from zero, we are slowly winning the fight against HIV/AIDS. I tried to hunt down some good news stories.

Here is a sample:

Masai Cricket Warriors integrate HIV/AIDS awareness into their coaching.

Sisters in science research an AIDS vaccine (see page 14)

UNAIDS report for 2011 showed fewer infections, fewer people dying of AIDS-related diseases, more people living with HIV/AIDS.

ARVs are getting cheaper, so that governments like South Africa’s can scale up their treatment campaigns.

Is the HIV/AIDS pandemic at the tipping point?

Longevity studies show that people with HIV/AIDS on courses of ARVs can live almost as long as people without HIV/AIDS.

South Africa launches an AIDS treatment plan that aims to raise the number of people on treatment from one to three million.

Play the Avert HIV/AIDS Challenge and find out how much you know about the virus. Let me know if you guessed the question about North America correctly or not – that one was a surprise.

Read my review of a beautiful book, The Gifts of the Body, about a home-care worker who visits and treats people with AIDS. This is the best story about AIDS that I have ever read. I first posted it for World AIDS Day 2008, but I am reposting it in honour of the millions of carers who work tirelessly with people with AIDS to make their lives better – the grandmothers whose children have died and who now find themselves parents to a second generation, the community workers, the children who nurse their dying parents. These are the unsung heroes of HIV/AIDS and I want to recognise them.

In order to do so, I have been collecting donations at work and today we will give €450 to Noah’s Orphans, a community organisation which cares for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in my home province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

AIDS Day posts from around the world:

Johns Hopkins University, USA ‘We are all unprotected’

83 to infinity, Canada Will AIDS ever be a memory?

BBC World Service Trust, India Being the face of HIV in India

Age UK, HIV and older people

Reluctant Mom, South Africa Talking to your kids about HIV/AIDS

If you have a post in honour of World AIDS Day, let me know and I will link to it here.