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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Improving society’s awareness about HIV/Aids

Title: The Price of Grandma’s Love
Author: Julius Ocwinyo
Reviewer: Dennis D. Muhumuza 

Julius Ocwinyo’s first children’s novel, The Price of Grandma’s Love, is one of those moving, entertaining, informative and very educative books about HIV/Aids.

Published by Fountain Publishers early this year, the book is about a pretty little girl named Santa Amuge, who has a stubborn dry cough. When she finally starts coughing blood, her parents panic and rush her to hospital, only for the doctors to discover that at only 11 years, Amuge has Tuberculosis and is HIV positive.

“What?!” her father, Kuranimo, screams on hearing the sad news. “You mean my daughter, my own little daughter, has HIV? You mean she has already had sex at her tender age…?”

Like many misinformed people, Kuranimo thinks HIV/Aids can only be transmitted through having unprotected sex with an infected person. He thinks his daughter, who has not even developed breasts, has a boyfriend with whom she is having sex.

He dreads the thought of becoming a laughing stock and people
calling his little daughter a slut when they establish that she has died of HIV/Aids. He even plans on paying a witchdoctor a visit to find out how his daughter got the deadly disease.

However, a counsellor is contacted and it is discovered that people get HIV/Aids in many ways besides sex and that Amuge got it after a razorblade used on an HIV/Aids patient was also used on her. That way, people get a better understanding of HIV/Aids, especially how it spreads and how it can be avoided.

In just 32 pages, Ocwinyo, who is also the author of popular adult novels such as Fate of the Banished and Footprints of the Outsider, tells this story in simple language and a suspenseful fashion. The book comes with illustrations to help the young readers understand and enjoy the story more.

There is also a glossary that explains words you may find difficult and some questions to help the reader gauge his/her grasp of this story. The Price of Grandma’s Love is available at Aristoc Booklex and other leading bookstores around town.

--Sunday Monitor, May 2, 2010