Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Through These Veins We Are Connected

Boundaries Bound  by Mulugeta Gebrekidan

Through These Veins

Anne Marie Ruff takes us on an adventure in the coffee highlands of Ethiopia. The bitter taste of death, sweet almond extract of true love and intrigue are wired together in this epic story.
Ruth and Zahara are two strong women searching for truth. They want to save those they care for from the tortured death by AIDS. A cure is within their very grasp.
Stefano, the Italian scientist, is plant collecting before the forest disappears. He meets a medicine man who has found katannii leaf extract can cure AIDS.
Life replicates fiction- I understand what it is to collect plants, having been a collector of roses and rare plants. Stefano’s passion for rescuing the secrets of the forest is romantic and true. The charming Stefano streams with life blood.
The topic of a cure for AIDS is timely. Timothy Ray Brown is the first person to have had HIV totally eliminated from his body. Will some plant that is burned or cut down hold the secret to something better than a “functional cure.”
Our oldest human relatives come from Ethiopia, a now country suffering with drought, deforestation and death. With one Medical Doctor for 100000 citizens, survival rates are low. Locals hold to superstitious beliefs that spirits and supernatural forces can cause bad fortune, and illness.
Ruff stands apart from preaching to us about Pharmaceutical Companies, corrupt governments or political action. “Pepsi and Coke should start a big political campaign,” Ruth says. Ruth speaks a profound idea.  Ruff’s writing flows gracefully showing the evil forces what they are.
There are passages where Ruff’s images are handsome and bitter as raw coffee, as in, “She wrapped both hands around her wine glass attempting to steady herself, to prevent herself from descending into the abyss of uncertainty.” As if the red wine, or liquid of the glass could save her fall.
Above the image of the beautiful paintings of Mulugeta Gebrekidan. He is an Ethiopian painter using mixed media and oil. His work expresses the same longing to save, to stir greatness without explaining.
Ruff inspires us to conserve this beautiful earth’s biodiversity without asking or waving a flag. “Think carefully about how you can stay true to your values-
Through these veins we are all connected. Ruff’s novel is romantic, thrilling and uplifting. Read it and be changed.
Anne Marie Ruff Grewal lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys. Photograph courtesy of Anne

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