Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa by Ande and Richter

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Open to any page of Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa, and you’ll find haunting photos and text that will either make you weep for, laugh with, or give applause to the children who are profiled here.

The story of one tiny girl, whose image flees across the page, gives a new perspective on the word “hardship,” as we experience it in the West. Author Ruthann Richter writes, “Two-year-old Mary Maishon was near death when she was found with two other children living under a piece of cardboard and plastic. Her limbs were skeletal, bent from lack of nutrition, and she was barely able to sit up. She didn’t speak at all.”

In a later photo, taken after she was restored to health through loving kindness and the generosity of strangers, tiny Mary beams at the camera, full of life and joy. Over a period of many months, photographer Karen Ande has captured the child’s journey from the brink of death to the beginning of a hopeful future…

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My 5: Karen Ande, AndePhotos

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Blue Planet Green Living asked photographer Karen Ande, owner of AndePhotos in San Francisco, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

KAREN ANDE:

* Educating your mind and heart are musts. That’s the first thing to do. A lot comes back to heart issues. People have to realize they are part of the planet. I think of hands reaching out across continents. We’re part of the same ecosphere.

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Children Raising Children: Documenting Africa’s AIDS Crisis

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“Any human being who could look at these photos and not be moved would have to be lacking a heart,” I said, clicking through pictures of AIDS-orphaned children in Sub-Saharan Africa. “They are so beautiful. ”

“Yes,” said Karen Ande, the photographer. “That got to me, too.” Karen was at her home in San Francisco, California, when I called her for this interview. “From the first moment I saw the kids, I was taken. The children are all beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”

Ande is a documentarian of the struggles of AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. She supports various grassroots organizations working there, raising funds partially through the sale of her photographs.

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