An AIDS in Africa story unfolds in rural

Winston Churchill called Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” and I’m beginning to see why. Its beauty has an arresting quality, like an attractive woman who doesn’t know the power of her captivating good looks. She’s already seducing me, helping me to forget–at least for the moment–about the deadly virus lurking in this community.

“Come with me on this unpredictable journey”


Facing mid-life, burned out and disillusioned from toiling in AIDS prevention in the South Bronx, I was desperate for something new, different and meaningful.

So when I heard about helping with an HIV prevention program for pregnant women in Uganda, I jumped. Thrilled because this opportunity would put me on the frontline in one of Africa’s AIDS success stories.

Flying into Bundibugyo, a remote mountainous district, I encountered a stunning landscape and welcoming people.

But the high was short-lived. Working in this rural sliver of Uganda was grueling. And it turned out to be about far more than saving babies.


I was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria, of a Nigerian father and a mother from Northern Ireland. Pursuing a career in women’s reproductive health took me from Jos to the American mid-west to London to Harlem to the South Bronx to Uganda and back to New York City. Along the way, I received a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University and nurtured a passion for story telling.

African Pearl is the working title of my forthcoming memoir, a journey of discovery that unfolded while I was living in rural Uganda, helping to prevent pregnant HIV positive women from passing the virus to their babies.

Chapters from this memoir have appeared in Redeemerites and Kweli. Another chapter was shortlisted for Wasafiri’s New Writing Prize in 2012

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