OneMoms: Report from Kenya

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OneMoms is a program where US bloggers report live from Kenya on the state of motherhood in Africa. The moms on this mission have generously agreed to share their posts with me. Today I share Emily McKahnn's Day 2 report: Sisterhood Among the #ONEMoms

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It's approaching midnight in Nairobi (4 pm in New York) and I'm lying awake thinking about the last two days in Kisumu, Kenya, a flight away from here.

Just this afternoon, we drove down narrow, bumpy dirt roads to visit two women in their neighborhood of thatched-roof, mud-walled homes. Margaret and Perez were waiting for us, along with a dozen curious kids, to tell us about the local TB program they've been a part of.

Earlier we'd learned that of the 6 billion people on earth, 2 billion have had tuberculosis and that TB is debilitating, often fatal, and it is treatable.

In front of her house, Margaret told us right away, with a big smile on her face, that she had almost completed her six-month TB treatment and was healthy. Earlier this year, she said, she couldn't get out of bed, couldn't take care of her family or work. She was dying, miles from any clinic, and thought she had no options.

And then, her friend Perez had visited.

Perez had recovered from TB herself and she knew how difficult it was to get medical help where they live and then to follow the 6-18 month regimen of medicines.

Perez had volunteered for a community program that identifies and supports people in her neighborhood with TB, and was trained by the Centers for Disease Control TB program in identifying the symptoms and helping people get treatment.

Perez visited Margaret every day for six months to check on her, make sure she had what she needed and that she took her medicine.

Watching these two women talk together, with Margaret glowing with happiness because she literally had been given her life back, and Perez quietly standing by her and occasionally taking her hand, I was so moved by the impact this one woman had had.

We are the ONEMoms in Africa this week, and Perez and Margaret are ONEMoms with us. They are living every day sharing the knowledge and sisterhood that comes from the difference that ONE mom can make.

Today's Action:

Day 2: Today the bloggers will be meeting with couples and mothers living with HIV, Tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Using the hashtag #ONEMoms, tweet a message (or messages) you'd like us to deliver to mothers in Kenya.

I know I'll be tweeting! Join the movement here: www.one.org/us/actnow/moms/

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