Viewing the local antiquities

Living world treasure 

From the Globe and Mail:

NAIROBI — Salome Simon doesn't have much. A one-room shack she rents in Majengo, a slum on the edge of Nairobi. A couple of kangas, the bright print wraps she wears as skirts, and a couple of blouses. A transistor radio, some aluminum pots and one little luxury, a gilded bottle of spicy perfume.

It isn't much to show for 23 years of hard work, on the job from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening, every day but Sunday, when she goes to church, and once a year when she visits her family in Tanzania for a few weeks. She doesn't have a house of her own, doesn't have any savings, doesn't have a plot of land to grow maize or beans.

There is one other thing that Ms. Simon doesn't have: AIDS.

And this sets her apart from the thousands of other women who make a living as she does, selling sex in Nairobi.

She has had sex with five or six men a day -- sometimes 10 or 11 on a really good day—since she moved to Nairobi in 1982. Through those years, women have sickened and died all around her: Her own daughter succumbed to AIDS last year. Yet Ms. Simon remains bizarrely—miraculously, she says—free of the virus.

In a just world, Salome Simon would not only be freed from work—since her body, studied, could save millions of lives—but revered.


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All characters and situations fictional. Copyright (c) 2003-2007 by "John Psmyth."
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