Wonderful day today traveling from Kisumu, Kenya down to Lwala! Most of the journey we spent traveling to the Rift Valley, a very fertile stretch of land that so contradicted the dry portion of Uganda where I have been spending my time. The poverty is still here but does not seem to be in the same extreme that we were seeing over the past week. I still have a very limited viewpoint, however, as I have only seen as far as western Kenya.
The Lwala Community Alliance has an absolutely beautiful compound here, giving its multi-dimensional organization plenty of room to spread out. A large plot of agricultural land stands as the center piece where partner groups grow different crops to be used in and around the site. One local group even grows herbs and vegetables specific to a diet appropriate for HIV-positive patients. The HIV rate here in this county is almost 25%, nearly three times that of the rest of the world.
Located in the Rift Valley of Western Kenya, the Lwala Community Alliance and Clinic were founded by two native brothers who had lost their parents to AIDS. The HIV rate in Kenya is almost 25%, nearly three times that of the rest of the world.
Milton and Fred Ochieng believed in their father’s dream to bring desperately needed healthcare home to Lwala. Their father inspired the brothers to pursue medical degrees. Traveling to the United States, Fred and Milton studied at Vanderbilt University and raised the seed money they needed to make their father’s dream a reality.
Today, with a staff of twenty-five Kenyans, this beautiful clinic celebrates its 5th anniversary and treats over 1,700 people each month. With over 1,000 are enrolled in HIV/AIDS treatment, the clinic offers a special garden dedicated a diet specific to HIV patients.
Executive Director and Health eVillages sponsor James Nardella and Deputy Program Director Kelly Baird are truly a wealth of knowledge. Over dinner last night, we spoke of the Health eVillages mission and they were able to share their experiences within non-profits and give advice moving forward. As I began training the healthcare providers in Lwala to use the mobile healthcare technology from Health eVillages, I am truly humbled to be working in a community where so many dedicated people have come together – neighbor to neighbor, one family at a time.