By John Drescher
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Edna Ogwangi is the chief impact officer at Raleigh-based Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now). She and her husband, who also is from Kenya, have two children and live northeast of Raleigh in Youngsville. Ogwani shares her extraordinary journey of survival and how she is now helping others provide for themselves.
Edna Ogwangi looked out recently at five acres of bananas, papaya and plantains in this desperately poor Caribbean country and saw lush splashes of green. To her, it looked like hope. And it felt like she had kept a personal promise from many years ago.
As a girl in Kenya in 1982, Ogwangi and her schoolmates suffered through a deadly drought that brought widespread hunger to their country in East Africa. Edna, then in the fifth grade, and her friends ate because of the arrival of 200-pound sacks of corn that were ground into cornmeal, a staple of the Kenyan diet.
She has never forgotten the words on the side of the bags of corn: “From the generosity of the American people.” Someday, she pledged, she would do what someone in America had done for her.
Thirty-six years later, Ogwangi, now a U.S. citizen, stood at the edge of what was once a barren field in northern Haiti, 7,500 miles from Kenya and 1,200 miles from her office in Raleigh. Ogwangi is a key player in an effort to feed Haitian children and help the Haitian people provide for themselves.
For Ogwangi, her trip to the Caribbean nation last month was a journey of love and commitment as she and her colleagues at Rise Against Hunger work to feed the world. Along the way, Ogwangi won over her Haitian male colleagues who operate in a male-dominated society and almost surely have never dealt professionally with a woman quite like her.