Mom blogger gets eye-opening experience in Africa

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local mom, who blogs about raising kids, is spending this week far away from her own children. She's in Kenya to learn what life is like for mothers halfway around the world. We spoke with her last week before she left and on Wednesday she spoke via Skype with ABC7 News.

"This has been the trip of a lifetime," said blogger Amy Graff.

She arrived at the Nairobi airport on Sunday, and already, Graff says it's been a life changing experience. She got to meet President Barack Obama's 89-year-old grandmother, who cares for more than 100 orphans in the Kenyan City of Kisumu.

"She's just an amazing woman who's really generous to the community, she has hopes to build a big orphanage where she can take care of more children," said Graff.

Graff and her fellow bloggers spent two days in Kisumu filled with orphans because its ground zero for Africa's aids epidemic. She followed healthcare workers giving in-home HIV tests, and teaching families how not to spread the disease. One mom who's HIV positive was overjoyed that her newborn baby tested negative for the virus -- in part thanks to medication from a U.S.-sponsored aid program.

"Living proof that these programs are working you know they're really saving lives," said Graff.

Part of the U.S. healthcare mission in Kenya is education. Graff, who writes for, showed animations of a developing fetus from that website to young moms who've never seen a sonogram.

"Well, I think that the Kenyans have a lot to learn from the Americans especially when it comes to health issues. I think that the Americans have a lot to learn from the Kenyans when it comes to community spirit," said Graff.

Everywhere they went, Graff says, the bloggers were greeted with song.

"They really appreciate the Americans and understand that they're lucky to be getting our help," said Graff.

But that help, amounting to just 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget, is in danger of being cut, Graff says. That's why she and her fellow bloggers are in Africa, to write about it and raise awareness.

"And continue to press our lawmakers to fund these programs in Africa," said Graff.

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