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A Piece of My Mind
July 1, 2009

The Quiet Storm

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2009;302(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.952

We traveled by bakkie, an off-road truck with plenty of traction. My wife Tania and I, physicians from Tugela Ferry, South Africa, jostled about as we made house calls to see patients living with HIV in rural KwaZulu-Natal province. Even the bakkie could not reach a few homes, in which cases we walked the remaining distance over larger rocks and steep embankments. The circular homes that filled the countryside were made from a thick woven straw and remained cool at their center despite the arid heat. Steer horns crowned the doorway of most homes, a melancholy marker of a dead family member's passing. Because of the scourge of HIV, many a rural Zulu home has been decorated with steer horns to guard against further spiritual misfortune.

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