Changing Planet

Clinton Visits Cassava Farm and Boy with AIDS

Rinkwavu, Rwanda–The Clinton mission flew on Rwanda Air Force helicopters to the eastern highlands of the country today to visit cassava farmers and then to join a home visit by a health care worker to a 15-year-old boy being treated for AIDS.

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Villagers gathered in small groups to watch the first wave of helicopters land on a football field.

The Clinton Foundation in partnership with the U.K.-based Hunter Foundation is assisting the farmers of this region to cultivate cassava. More than 5,000 farmers — nearly 80 percent of all the farmers of Rinkwavu — have received millions of cuttings of a drought-resistant variety of cassava from the charities, helping improve food security and incomes for thousands of families.

Cassava roots are rich in carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin C. The leaves are also edible.

Watch these videos about the cassava project, including one in which Clinton suggests that, because cassava is gluten-free, it might have potential for export to the developed world, where many people have developed an allergic reaction to the gluten found in wheat products.

A short drive from the cassava fields is the home of the boy with AIDS. He was not identified out of respect for his privacy.

Outside the home, however, Clinton met with the boy’s sister, Eugenie, and health care workers.

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Clinton meets 19-year-old Eugenie, sister and surrogate mother of her 15-year-old brother who has AIDS. She has been looking after her brother for years.

Photo by David Braun/NGS

This particular family was chosen for Clinton to visit so that he could see how coummunity health care workers are deployed to reach thousands of Rwandans who would otherwise not have access to health services.

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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