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US Ambassado, Africa Band Aid

I learned about Pulse Wire after I returned from a three month volunteer experience in Kenya, in 2006. I thought I would volunteer, go home and be done. That is NOT what happened; the people stole my heart!

During my time there I met a colleague and friend, Leah Okeyo, who now writes for Pulse Wire. She and I are now in Mexico City at the International AIDS Conference.

So now after less than two years, Africa Band Aid is a 501c3 nonprofit in Oregon. We sponsor secondary students (31) and university students (7). We buy meds for the hospital monthl;, and we have just completed the building of a Living Center (orphanage) for 120 OVCs. It is all so exciting!

I am a retired nurse practitioner, and life is far from boring!

Comments

Lisa's picture

Hi Karen!

Wow! The new Living Center sounds like an amazing success story! It must have been quite a challenging project. The Resource ExChange would be a great place to post any needs for the orphanage or to offer volunteer opportunities. When are you planning to return to Kenya?

Lisa

kzwickert's picture

Response

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for your note. I will review and act on your suggestions when I return home from Mexico City next week.

Til then....Karen

kzwickert's picture

Resource Exchange

Hi Lisa,

I appreciate your kind words.

Yes, the building project was a challenge, but my project manager did a fine job!

I knew that the first year would be difficult; but never did I imagine how dificult it would be. We started the new year with the post presidential election violence and displacement. In Sori, our location, violence was minimal and we were blessed that the children and staff were safe. We did lose 40 bunk beds that were being made in Migori, where violence was rampant.

Not only is there stress and uncertainty for the people of Kenya, the economy has bottomed out and the US dollar is weak (down 20% from one year ago). Meeting subsistence needs has been an ordeal for most people. One of our major challenge has been financing the Living Center.

Unfortunately there is also local politics to contend with. My manager and staff have been resilient.

Tell me about the Resource Exchange.

I am returning to Kenya soon. Leah and I are working on a grant for women with HIV/AIDs. I have been to Migori many times and look forward to meeting her group.

Tell me about you.

Regards, Karen

Corine Milano's picture

Welcome Karen, it's

Welcome Karen, it's wonderful to meet you on PulseWire. I have heard a lot about you and your organization. Have you seen the Africa AIDS Orphans group that Leila Okeyo started? You may be interested in joining: http://beta.pulsewire.net/groups/1956

kzwickert's picture

Greetings!

Hello Corine,

Thank you for your warm welcome.

I hope you have heard good things about me and Africa Band Aid!

Although I have been to Migori many time, so far I have not met with Leah's group. I am hoping to remedy that in the near future. I plan to be there in the near future.

There is a local political crisis at the Living Center in Sori that needs my attention.

Tell me about you.

Regards, Karen

Auma's picture

Hi Karen!

Great to meet you here again after Mexico City! It is unfortunate that you called twice yesterday and we could not talk well since the lines were down.

Electricity has been on only a few hours everyday since i came back too.Life continues.

Yes,there is plenty of local politics.Most of it needs your attention,and final word.

I can't wait to see you here!

Best regards,

Leah.

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