This paper offers an ethnographic account of the impact of the AIDS epidemic on families in rural Nyanza Province, Kenya, and life strategies of orphaned children as they negotiate their survival options in a lineage-based, agrarian society incorporated into the margins of the national and global economic system. Faced with the secrecy and shame that shroud HIV/AIDS, orphaned children face bereavement along with a drastic change in expectations and access to resources and opportunities. This article examines transformations in domestic groups necessitated by ongoing underdevelopment and economic marginalization. The orphans, often from educated, employed parents, face privation and diminished opportunities and access to resources, and depend on neighbors and kin for their basic subsistence, as well as to hold onto or gain access to their patrimony.


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pp. 44-64
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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