I hate it when I say "Africa" and people immediately think of
starving children, poverty, AIDS, and conflict.
And yet, I do take care of incredibly sick and malnourished
children, families living in grinding poverty, and so, so many
patients infected with HIV. And we do worry about the violence that
springs up in fragile places. I may be guilty of reinforcing the
same stereotypes as I write about these sick children and what life
looks like in a sub-Saharan country where most people get by on
less than $1 per day.
But of course there is so much more.
Like people in any corner of the world, the people in Kenya are
bursting with their own unique stories of love and grief and work
and families. Determined, dedicated mothers and fathers who want
nothing more than to raise up children who are strong and smart and
loving and who have a better chance in life. Children with bright
and shiny dreams of school and success. Families who have absorbed
life's hardest blows of loss and sorrow, but who keep working, keep
trying, keep loving. I know these families. They are my friends and
colleagues and employees and patients. I hope I tell their stories
I loved reading
this story today, about a 13-year-old Kenyan boy who applied
his sparkling, dreaming brain to the problem at hand for his family
- keeping the lions away from the cows. Richard Turere gets to talk
about his innovations at the TED conference, which is so great. (Oh
the dream of attending a TED conference!) I always love a new idea,
and I especially love the fact that such a big audience will hear
about the ideas (and the dreams and the promise) of this young boy
from sub-Saharan Africa.
I'm reading lots of stories from Kenya as we prepare for the
presidential elections next week, and mostly I'm worrying about
what may come in terms of conflict and pain. So this is my favorite
story from Kenya this week - a bright and shining boy with ideas
and dreams who happens to live in this particular part of the
And this is what I pray for: a country that will remain at peace
and allow all of its children every chance to grow and shine.