Why Leaving Kenya Was So Difficult
I am always ready to come home to the comforts of my home, especially if I am away from my husband and kids. This weekend, though as we were preparing to leave Kenya I only longed to bring my family to me. I had to ponder this and wonder what was creating such a strong yearning to stay there. Then I remembered what one of our hotel attendants had shared that morning, “The ground in Africa is magic. Once you step on it you will not want to leave”.
So there you have it, I was under the spell of Africa. It is not just the spell of Africa, but the spell of the ONE campaign and the ONE Moms as well. I could see something much bigger happening than government funded programs at work. I could see Africa “coming alive” and the rest of the world coming together from all walks of life to give their voice for the beautiful people that we were meeting. What resonated with me was that the US Government funded programs were only the catalyst for change. Once these communities were given the tools they needed to improve the lives and living conditions surrounding them, they were motivated and inspired to be involved and take action. The community health counselors, village reporters, TB ambassadors, Kenyan entrepreneurs, Binti Pamoja graduates, and farmers spoke articulately and with confidence, goals for their communities. They are all “living proof” that smart aid is working. The momentum and motivation is there and we must continue to keep these programs viable and strong. With one in 19 babies still dying before their first birthday the funding must continue. The Nyanza Province of Kenya is the most densely populated area of HIV/AIDS in the country and is the center for research for not only HIV/AIDS, but Malaria, TB, and tropical diseases. The possibilities to be found here will be world changing!
As a mom I want my kids to see individuals coming together from all walks of life for something greater. I want them to hear the stories from the women at Amani Ya Juu who are from countries all over eastern Africa working to transcend ethnic and cultural differences, listen as I share how absolutely INCREDIBLE each of the ONE Mom participants are, and learn how the ONE campaign has shown the world that together as ONE we can DEFEAT extreme poverty. This trip has been a life-changing gift that I will forever and always be grateful for. As for my husband and kids-they are ready to feel the magic!