Feb 03, 2014. By
My unforgettable visit today to Gihembe Refugee Camp in Rwanda with the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign reinforced two things. One: Our collective work to fight malaria is paying off. Two: We still have a lot of work to do to end malaria deaths for good. More than 14,000 people live in Gihembe in northern Rwanda, although it’s difficult to call these mud houses perched on terraced hillsides home.
Yesterday I did what I almost always do on Sundays–play with my two young sons, go for a long run, and generally just enjoy being at home with my family. I also spent a considerable amount of time packing for my first trip to Rwanda. I'm headed there today with the Nothing But Nets campaign and our friends at WWE to visit refugee camps with our partners at the UN Refugee Agency.
My wife Kate, the mother of our two young boys, understood immediately when I explained to her that I wasn’t going to be home on Mother's Day. Instead, I was traveling to Africa. She knew that my trip would help bring hope, awareness, and life-saving bed nets to refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan.
Today we toured Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northern Kenya desert, home to nearly 95,000 refugees, about one-third of whom are from South Sudan. People there have walked days or weeks, or ridden buses, or flown in airplanes, to escape dangerous conditions in their home countries. They arrive exhausted, most with little or no belongings.