Category Archives: Africa

Anna: escaping to freedom

Anna grew up in the Rift Valley province of Kenya, in the deep bush. When she arrived at Imara House, she spoke neither English nor Swahili, only the language of her tribe: Samburu.


Her story is one that expresses one of the the harshest aspects of traditional Kenyan culture: forced early marriage.

When I stayed at Imara House, I interviewed Anna, who was willing to share her story with me, even though it dredged up many dark and painful memories.

Ngina: her baby was worth fighting for

Ngina and her two-year old daughter live at Imara House, a safe haven for teen mothers and their babies 3 hours north of Nairobi. She was the first girl I interviewed during my two-week stay in Africa.

Although she was born in a rural area, she grew up in one of the worst slums in Nairobi. The burden of teen pregnancy, I discovered, is particularly heavy when you are destitute.

In this story she talks about her fight to keep her daughter, Gift.

Sofie: telling her story set her free

IMG_4610 Sofie is one of eight teen mothers living in the safety of Imara House, three hours north of Nairobi. She just turned 17 and her baby, Sharon, recently celebrated her first birthday. My purpose in traveling to Kenya was to interview the teens living at Imara, a nonprofit that provides a haven for teen mothers — young women who have been seriously abused — and to encourage them to tell their stories.

Sophie felt the shame and stigma of living with HIV/AIDS. She wanted no one to know her diagnosis, not even her mother.