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Osage Peace Corps volunteer works to prevent AIDS and HIV in Africa

Osage News, Pawhuska, Oklahoma

In a rural community in Botswana, an Osage is helping with the epidemic of AIDS and HIV as well as teaching villagers how to grow gardens in their back yards.

Susan Birkhead is a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer who was sent to Kalamare, Botswana in April 2011 for two years as a Community Capacity Builder in a small clinic. She mainly works on HIV and AIDS prevention, education within the clinic, village communities and non-governmental organizations in Kalamare.

Birkhead is trying everything she possibly can to help the 2,339 villagers in Kalamare.

“I have quite a bit of experience in food handling, gardening and nutrition and I think this is one reason I was chosen for this assignment,” Birkhead said. “Botswana has a food security problem plus it is very important for people with HIV and AIDS to have proper nutrition because the immune system is severely challenged because people lack resources.”

Birkhead spends a great deal of time encouraging villagers to establish backyard gardens.

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