Sunday, August 19, 2012

In The Ground

Week of August 13

THE ARTICLE:
"Grandmas Grow Gold in Swaziland"
by LYDIA POLGREEN
August 14, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/world/africa/grandmothers-grow-marijuana-in-swaziland-to-support-families.html

THE GIST:
Some caregivers will do anything to provide for their children.  For Khathazile, who took in her 11 grandchildren after their mothers died of AIDS, that means growing marijuana.  Khathazile lives in Swaziland, which has become a major supplier of marijuana for South Africa. The country's high prevalence of HIV/AIDS has left many AIDS orphans in need of care.  With many of Swaziland's men working outside of the poor country, this puts pressure on their grandmothers to take them in.  Growing marijuana is an attractive option for these caregivers because it's a crop that doesn't rely on rain, isn't eaten by animals, doesn't need to grow in excellent soil, and yields a good price from buyers.  "Without weed," says Khathazile, "we would be starving.”

 


THE POEM:
In The Ground

my children
are in the ground

Tensile in the ground
Spiwe in the ground
Nomsa in the ground

eleven babies lost
I found

these hands are old
these hands are full
these hands will become
resourceful

the rain doesn't fall
the soil doesn't smile
the men won't be home
for a long, long while

they stare with their bellies
loud in their grief
they pray up to God
I pray to what's beneath

I plant my faith
below our feet
sprout weed after weed
so that they can eat

When they eat
it gets quiet
no one makes a sound

I used to look up
now the answers
are in the ground


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