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Winnie Barron

A physician's assistant in Brownsville, Winnie Barron first went to Africa in 1994, as a volunteer medic with Northwest Medical Teams in Rwanda. "I was enveloped with the joy of people there, the incredible tenacious spirit," she says. "I had a lot to learn from them." Returning on her own in '97, Barron found the borders to Rwanda closed, so she volunteered instead at a hospital in Makindu, Kenya, a truck stop on the road from Nairobi to the port of Mombasa. There she met hundreds of street children, most of them orphans. Working with local teacher Dianah Nzomo, Barron began planning the Makindu Children's Program. Officially launched in August of 1998, MCP provides food, medical care, and education to kids who are placed in "guardian homes," usually with older people who could not otherwise afford to feed them. "It's a win-win situation," Barron says. "Instead of loitering and stealing, the kids become part of the community." MCP will present A Taste of Africa, a benefit event, 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, October 14, at the Beacon House, 90980 River Road. Learn more at makindu.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 13 September 2007

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