Now, Bethwell Nyangweso, works in the Nairobi community to get the population tested and, if found to be HIV positive, into a treatment program. Rather than having died of AIDS in 2002, he has spent the past eight years saving, perhaps, thousands of other lives.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy here, Lee Brudvig, gave us another good reason to maintain these programs: At their relatively modest costs, they help keep anti-American rabble-rousing at bay because the very people who are most directly affected by these programs tend to be the poorest and thus, the most fertile ground for terrorist recruitment.
At a dinner last night with a group of young, upwardly mobile Kenyans, I was asked what I had learned on this trip. I said:
"I have learned that what I thought had been set of programs to toss money over the transom at Uganda and other African nations, I now see as an investment in what may someday became a vibrant, growing economic engine."
I know, but I really do talk like that sometimes.
At a time when State budgets and the Federal budget are being squeezed through fine fiscal strainers looking for any available dollars, we should take great care before we reduce or eliminate programs which are doing what they were designed to do, within the budgets they were granted, and for which America and Americans are getting due credit.