Book Review| In Finding Solace: A Journey of Hope After Tragedy by Agnes Nyawayarwo
In Finding Solace: A Journey of Hope After Tragedy, published in 2022, Agnes Nyawayarwo enumerates the love and blessings that gave her strength over time. She kept going when her father died, when her mother remarried and had NINE more children, when only a half-brother would support her and send her to school. Older, she started nursing school, dropped out with an unexpected pregnancy, and eventually graduated, but had to stay at home as children arrived in quick succession.
When her husband went to an American college on scholarship, Agnes was at home with seven children and an eighth on the way. One of the children ran away at 13 and was lost; her partner graduated and got a good job but came home soon, very ill with HIV/AIDS.
Struggling to house and feed the family, Agnes got involved with HIV/AIDS organizations; three more children were born; her partner died. At that point, Agnes had birthed ten children, one of whom was missing; she herself was 40 years old. One of her children was ill with HIV, and Agnes was also HIV-positive.
With strength, determination, faith, and perhaps luck, Agnes kept going. She developed a project by which mothers with AIDS created “memory books” for their children. And she became a spokesperson and advocate for mothers with HIV/AIDS, traveling widely in the US and elsewhere, appearing with celebrities including President George Bush and the singer Bono. We, the readers, can hardly believe her strength, her determination, and her story.