By Sue CorbettLIZA NELSONMaria Speidel and FRANCINE PROSE
Updated September 11, 2006 12:00 PM

By Melissa Fay Greene




After watching her daughter die of cancer in 1998, a middle-class Ethiopian woman named Haregewoin Teferra nearly lost the will to live. Then a local priest begged her to take in a teenage girl whose parents had died of AIDS. That was just the beginning. Over time, Teferra opened her modest home to hundreds of orphans, despite the huge stigma attached to anyone associated with “slim disease,” as AIDS was called there. Greene’s nuanced portrait of this heroine places Teferra at the center of a global crisis, but never loses its focus on the innocent victims. The U.N. estimates that by 2010, Africa could have 50 million children orphaned because their parents died of a disease that can be treated by drugs readily available in affluent nations. Greene quotes a doctor whose colleagues compare AIDS in Africa to the Holocaust. “We will be asked by future generations, ‘What did you do to help?'” Teferra will have no trouble answering: More than my share.