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Commitment brings change

Kathryn Nelson. Photo courtesy of Advances Magazine.

Kathryn Nelson doesn’t just dream of sustainable development, she makes it happen.

By Kathryn Nelson


She calls me the girl with the black heart.

Black, like her skin, my Kenyan sister says. Black, like her.

I came to Kenya as a naïve journalist believing that Africa, like so many of my colleagues had said, was solely full of suffering and hate.

And, yes, I did see much pain. I was stationed at the Mt. Elgon refugee camp in Kenya in 2007 and I witnessed atrocities at the hands of greedy governments, selfish Westerners, and self-righteous religions. But out of this pain came possibilities.

I had worked as a reporter for most of my career, seeking to cover wars and disasters, going where many of my peers wouldn’t go. I had volunteered in the slums of Mexico, ventured off to remote villages in Costa Rica, and lived among the relatives of the desaparecidos in Argentina. But my time in Kenya forever changed the way I thought of development, humanitarian aid, and my personal place in this life.

Continue reading in Advances Magazine.

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