|Monday, 02 May 2011 15:00|
"Mercy Chidi Opens One of East Africa's First Shelters for Girls"
Seven years ago, Mercy Chidi stepped into a wasteland in rural Africa. Everywhere she looked she saw the face of AIDS in her hometown of Meru, Kenya: in the babies with AIDS abandoned by desperate mothers, in the grandmothers suddenly forced to summon their energy to raise orphaned grandkids, and in girls whose virginity was stolen by men with AIDS – men who believed a myth that this act would cure them. If that wasn’t challenging enough, she also had to traverse a spiritual wasteland – one that is inescapable for those with “impossible” dreams. Across this wasteland, Mercy took those tentative first steps toward “an idea and a hope,” all the while wondering if she had what it took to face the naysayers, the doubts within, and the tests of the physical world.
Mercy’s ability to shape one of East Africa’s most inventive AIDS relief operations (now reaching 13,000 orphans) in just seven short years is a testimony not only to her deep faith, courage, and “know-how,” but also to a deeper sense that she was never “going it alone.”
“Here in Africa, we always know that our women friends, huge networks, and women’s groups are a part of who we are – and it’s a part of our daily life. In fact, we would think it very odd if one our Sisters was a loner and didn’t belong. When I began Ripples International, there were days, I tell you – when a grant did not come through, or I rescued a baby alongside the road but we lost her, or when I just went to one funeral too many. But I always went to my groups and friends to cry, refuel, release, and keep going. Without that, everything would just be too much!”And the magic of Mercy is that she carries this spirit of community everywhere she goes! Ask any of her international friends, partners, professional donors and agencies – she is a teacher in the art and meaning of women’s community and support structures.
|Last Updated on Monday, 02 May 2011 15:45|