Q&A with Sam Eley ’15 on Combating HIV/AIDS in Kenya

Sam Eley chatting with Josephine, with one of SOTENI’s sponsored students

Sam Eley chatting with Josephine, with one of SOTENI’s sponsored students

This summer, Sam Eley is working for an NGO in Kenya that is fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in East Africa. The rising junior, who is from Blue Hill, Maine, said he was drawn to the opportunity because he wanted to live and interact with people whose lives were “completely different” than his own.

He was also inspired by anthropology professor Scott MacEachern’s class Peoples and Cultures of Africa, which he said piqued his interest in the impacts of NGOs, both negative and positive, in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, Eley, a biochemistry major who plans to attend medical school, said he wanted to learn how such endemic diseases as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV are confronted in a region with limited capital and resources.

“I think the most valuable thing for me so far has been being candidly exposed to the day-to-day operations of an NGO in a very rural part of a developing country,” Eley said. “I’ve received a very realistic view into the challenges of rural healthcare with limited resources and the many approaches — such as income generation, women’s empowerment, water purification, orphan sponsorship, health education or home-based care — that can be taken to address health issues.” Read the full Q&A.

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