Author Jennifer Mooney and Mr. Malachi
Soteni International connects Cincinnati to Kenya
For most Americans, when they hear of a place called Kenya, they think of Safari. In fact, Kenya was voted the best location to Safari in 2019. And when one chances upon their first view of the rhino, hippo, large cats, and elephants, it is a transformational moment. Yet it is the Kenyan people who make the nation magical.
Note the intensity that Kenyans supported our own country on January 5th after al-Shabab militants — affiliated with al-Qaeda — launched an attack on an airstrip used by both the U.S. and Kenyan militaries, killing three American citizens. East Africans have vowed to pursue those responsible for the attack and continue counterterrorism efforts with the U.S.
These are our partners, friends, allies.
Cincinnati has its own connection to Kenya called Soteni, now in its 15th year.
To understand the work of Soteni International is to understand the people of Kenya, which is a diverse land with 42 tribes, just as many languages, and a varied landscape from the sea to the heights of Mt. Kenya. The people are as varied as the geography. And while Americans generally visualize the Masai or Samburu, most people live in simple villages with their families nearby.This is a place in which religion, kinship, and beliefs matter. Material possessions take a far second to relationships and life quality. When people are asked how they like to spend their free time, most smile and say things like “singing with my kids” and “spending time with friends.”These are a people who lead by hope, not fear.
Soteni literally means “all of us together.” Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin started this nonprofit organization with unrivaled passion. She did so after living in Kenya to support and address HIV/AIDS and related health matters. Soteni works in three remote villages.Soteni’s international mission is simple: They work in rural Kenya to prevent and mitigate the effects of diseases, especially HIV/AIDS through community-based programs. One in four Kenyans have HIV, or 25% percent of the population. Kenya has the fourth highest incidence in the world.READ MORE