A Defining Moment: A Reflection on 15 Years from Zane

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When I think back on the 15 years of creating and living Ubuntu one story stands out as the most formative. It was around 2005 and we were hosting one of our first medical teams in Maai Mahiu. I was helping out with patient screenings when a young woman with little children walked into the room. She was very frail and extremely sick. We escorted the children out of the room and continued with taking her vitals. The local Kenya clinician suggested that we do an HIV test as he felt she was positive. The results came back quickly and indeed the young mother was HIV positive. I then proceeded to share her diagnosis with her. What followed was and still is one of the most vivid memories of my life. The young woman began crying uncontrollably, gauze that was plugged in her nose from a nosebleed came out and blood poured onto the floor. I remember the clinician tried to excuse her from the room, but I refused him and decided to sit with this woman who had just received what I can only imagine for her was a death sentence. We sat together for what seemed hours. I did not cure her and we could only converse intermittently due to our language barrier and the sobbing. However, I share this story because what did take place for me was a profound shift in my being and a moment of clarity of purpose. We will stand alongside this community and do what we can to alleviate peoples suffering, help them to stand with their pain and to creatively innovate opportunities that will shift the future for their children and their childrens children.

Today Ubuntu serves thousands of lives, has hosted hundreds of volunteers from around the world and has had the opportunity to create a few key programs that are empowering the marginalized to take ownership of their own lives. I think back on that moment over a decade ago and realize now how much that young woman changed my life. I had never sat with someone in the midst of such horrific pain before. And in a very real way her pain broke me open to create something that I pray will continue to serve, empower and heal thousands of other women, children and families for decades to come.