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13 Sep 2020

Clean water and light

She said this light has made all the difference for her kids to be able two study in their dark home. She is so incredibly beautiful, with her high cheekbones and bright eyes whenever she smiles. While not speaking much, I feel her keen attentiveness to the conversation happening around her as I ask her husband questions about their family’s experience as part of AFCA’s livelihood program. She is eager to show me the water filter and leads me to the mud hut she, her husband, and her nine children and grandchildren call home. It is swept clean, with small rooms divided by cloth panels, which she pushes [...]

11 Sep 2020

Making Pondu in Congo

The rain starts as soon as our breakfast of peanuts and scrambled eggs is over although we’ve been feeling it coming for a while, with the sounds of thunder in the distance, the sudden suffocating humidity followed by the fluttering of curtains (made from old patient gowns from the nearby hospital) as the wind blows hard. Through the wood and wire mesh windows, I see the palm trees bending a bit, giving deference to the wind and we know that rain is coming. We drink something that looks like coffee but tastes nothing like it and I pray that it contains caffeine as I am exhausted thanks to large rats [...]

8 Sep 2020

Zongo, DRC – Sept 3, 2020

I watch the three trunks be carefully lifted and placed into the back of a vehicle which is taking people and the luggage to Gemena. HAHAHAHAHA! Just joking! What I see is the desperate stuffing of overweight trunks into the smallest space imaginable, leaving as much room free as possible so that as many people as can be crammed into the vehicle can catch a ride. I hear and watch the slamming of the trunk and shudder as I think of the laptop, the lights, and water filters getting crushed. I don’t have much recourse, other than to ask the driver to be careful, as there is no way to [...]

1 Jun 2020

Bono’s Sermon

If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex. Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation. Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed [...]

17 Jan 2020

Menstrual Hygiene Kids – Meeting the Needs of Girls

Not having sanitary supplies means days without school and not leaving their houses/hostels. It also means girls using unhealthy materials, cloth, paper, leaves, mattress stuffing, corn cobs, or anything they think can be used to manage the menses. Centre for Youth and Development is excited to share the progress of our #demstfyingperiods initiative we are implementing in Mzimba, Malawi. We are working to bring reusable sustainable menstrual hygiene kits to girls and women, with the help of the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). These kits, currently made by volunteers in USA, help to reduce missed school days during monthly periods. In October 2019, we distributed Feminine Hygiene kits [...]

19 Nov 2019

Sister Vero in Mombasa

We’ve been friends for a long time, Sister Vero and I. She and I both started the jobs we currently hold at the same time in March 2005. We came to know each other first by email and later, through the visits I make to Mombasa, Kenya. With her quick smile, huge hugs, and loving ways, I was embraced into her world – a world that is full of orphans, widows, poor, destitute, unloved, and the unwanted. Here, she lives fully, giving of herself day in and day out, loving well and showing others what it is to do so humbly and with dignity. I have picked up the [...]

12 Nov 2019

Love, compassion, respect and the impact is incredible

AFCA is THE BEST. I am an extremely proud volunteer and avid supporter. I discovered AFCA in 2010 while volunteering on another non-profit project in Nepal. Some of my teammates had experience as AFCA volunteers, and their AFCA T-shirts prompted me to ask questions about this organization. The way they beamed with joy and excitement telling me about the amazing work AFCA does, was telling this was something very special and unique. I got the general mission from them, 'helping children in Sub-Saharan Africa who are infected or affected by AIDS', which in truth is too summarial to define the magnitude, dimension, heart, and reach of this organization and [...]

8 Nov 2019

Balanced meals from the GARDEN PROJECT

We walk towards the 23 garden plots bursting with kale, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and a smattering of butternut squash. Seven women, all affected by AIDS, work this land three days a week, giving them time to be mothers and grandmothers. Proudly wearing bright yellow shirts that say GARDEN PROJECT on their back, they mulch, water, weed, prepare new land, sow, plant, harvest. I strike up a conversation with two women and ask what the project means to them and they explain that they and the children eat from the money earned. That their children are in school. That their household has seen improvements. I ask if they are paid [...]

4 Nov 2019

Bright yellow t-shirts

In the village of Miwani in western Kenya, you’ll find 23 garden beds, teeming with veggies and fruit, all tended by HIV+ mothers. Kale, onions, potatoes, spider plants, tomatoes, peppers, and so much more is grown in this plot, helping achieve one of the goals of this project: help an orphanage become self-sustaining. Children there now eat balanced meals, complete with green, white, yellow, red, and orange veggies and fruit and the excess is sold in the open market. Part of the proceeds go back into the project while the rest is used to help run the orphanage.  Win-win! The fair wages earned by the women who work the [...]

25 Oct 2019

Notes on traveling with Naomi

Our trip starts with these words from me to my travel companion, Naomi: “Do not eat lettuce or any veggies which haven’t been cooked or peeled, ok?” I walk downstairs to join Kathy and Naomi and am greeted by Kathy who tells me that Naomi is distraught. I feel a momentary fear that something terrible has happened at home to one of her children and ask where Naomi is so I can find out what is happening. Kathy points out the door into the torrential rain as lightning flashes across the sky. I am obviously confused, so I look between Kathy and the storm until Kathy says, “she can’t [...]

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