Covid has made me think about tuberculosis many times (I also wrote about the way it connected with my cancer treatment here). Contagious, deadly, different people’s bodies have different responses, the feeling of being made a pariah or a leper, fear, societal changes, new vocabulary, life-long repercussions even when cured, global, no great treatment (yet), no vaccine (yet), racial dynamics, economics…
The overlaps could go on and on. And there are also the medical workers saving lives, risking their own lives, choosing to care for the vulnerable, and doing this in the middle of, in some places, broader violence and danger.
Like Annalena Tonelli did with tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa.
If you want to read about how a woman and a community faced their own “pandemic”, read this book. Read about how she consistently chose love and service over fear and rejection. Read about how she kept on choosing joy and life, even during war and terrible loss.
One reader asked if I hold Annalena as an idol. I don’t think I go to that extreme but I do admire, respect, and feel challenged by her. I know her weaknesses and the ways she frustrated some of the people around her. I know she wasn’t perfect and I don’t even come close to emulating her my own life. But I do find an example in her, an inspiration, ideas for how to live a little bit better, how to love a little bit more.
Every day this week, the 1-year birthday for Stronger than Death and the 17-year anniversary of Annalena’s murder, I will share experiences that I’ve had over the past year in talking about the book.
I’ll tell you about some mistakes and Lord knows I hate mistakes. About the value of reviews and how that little yellow “this book has issues” button that used to be on the Amazon page made me so mad. I’ll tell you about some of my favorite experiences while on book tour, share some reviews, share some reader concerns/issues, and give an update of the impact of the book. Be sure to check back in each day this week for these little tidbits.
And if you haven’t read the book yet, check it out! Also leave a review! Look at how excited I am, I’m using exclamation points!