Audio Interview: The Woman Who Entered a Poor, AIDS-ravaged Community and Left It as a Self-Sustaining Banana Exporter

Posts like this are why the Displaced African was born and what I pretty much live for.

Fidelis Wainaina

On the 5th of March 2008, an absolute angel amongst men by the name of Fidelis Wainaina died. Aside from being a simply amazing human being (as you will hear in the podcast) what was absolutely amazing about her body of work is that starting with absolutely nothing she helped the constituents of Maseno turn their community from a poor, AIDS ravaged community into a self-sufficient banana exporting constituency that is now on its way to self-created wealth.

Now, sad to say, in this day and age, an event such as her death passed without much mention from the media. However, since I am blessed to have a blog and a means to communicate with Africa and the world, I thought I would do my part to ensure that souls such as hers are never ever forgotten and are in fact celebrated. I also hope that this podcast will help spur on all the people doing good work in Africa and inspire those not in the game of service to dive in.

Before I get to the meat of this post let me give you some very quick tips on how you can help ensure posts such as this reach the most people and have the most impact.

11 Things To Do After You Read This Article

Please do AT LEAST one of the following things after reading this post and/or listening to the podcast:

  1. Email it to all your friends who might be interested in it.

  2. Write your opinions on Fidelis in your own blog (like Sukuma Kenya did )

  3. Link to this article from your blog and share your thoughts on it.

  4. Send this article to your local paper and ask them to do a write-up on Fidelis Wainaina.

  5. Email world wide online publications such as Pambazuka, Black looks, Global Voices Online, Jamati and allafrica and ask them to do a feature to commemorate Fidelis.
  6. Start up your own initiatives like Fidelis’ Maseno Interchristian Child Self Help Group (MICH) and let me know about them so I can interview you too.

  7. Share this article with your friends on Facebook (there is a link that allows you to do so at the end of this post).

  8. Stumble this article and expose it to millions of people all over this world (if enough people Stumble this article around the same time, it can be read by up to 1000s of people within the next 24 hours). There is a link that allows you to Stumble this article at the bottom of the post. If you are not a member of StumbleUpon, make sure you sign up-it’s free. It is one of the greatest websites EVER!
  9. If you are a journalist or film maker or involved in any form of mass media, do a special on her and feel free to reference this post or any of its contents.
  10. Do what you can to get the word out about Fidelis, her work and similar projects.

If you know anyone else who I should interview because of the good work they do, do not hesitate to contact me .And for helping me with this, I thank you a lot.

Fidelis Wainaina 2

Without Further Ado

The first podcast in the history of the Displaced African (yay). Hope it inspires you.

The file is 45 minutes long so feel free to Download it and carry it on your ipod (Download it by right clicking on the ‘Download’ link below the player, selecting “Save File As”/ “Save Target As” and letting the goodness flow from the web to your computer :) )

icon for podpress  Fidelis Wainaina - A true angel! [45:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Some Quick Notes About the Podcast

1) I understand that some people do not quite agree with the view presented in this interview of why the violence in Kenya broke out – i.e. that a lot of it was a direct attack against Kikuyus as either perceived revenge or to displace them. That’s fine. It’s not the main point of the interview anyway, and we were not physically in Kenya during the violence so we could definitely be wrong.

2) Any notes on how to improve my interview technique or any questions that weren’t fully answered, leave a comment or contact me and let me know.

3) Fidelis’ organization is known as Maseno Interchristian Child Self Help Group (MICH)

4) The exchange rate we were discussing was the US Dollar vs the Kenya shilling. To check out exchange rates, visit the Yahoo currency converter.

5) The Luo name for her was Nyar Okuyu.

Further Information

East African Standard article from August 28 2006

East African Standard interviews Fidelis Wainaina

Yarra Prize Laureates 2006 article

Listen to Fidelis Wainaina give a speech: “On the Front Lines of Poverty” during the Micah Conference 2007:

Article regarding her death from Australian organization, TEAR (She was supposed to visit us during this Australian tour…sigh!):

A short story regarding Fidelis from the ONE Organization:

Another brief article about her death:

From a European website.

World Evagelical Alliance also mention her death:

For more information, also check out the Google search results for the term: Fidelis Wainaina

Fidelis Wainaina 3

Please don’t forget to do one of the 11 things listed above as soon as you finish reading this article. And of course, if you enjoyed this podcast and want to make sure you receive updates when I begin doing regular inspirational podcasts, please subscribe to the site for free via either:

a) Email

b) RSS

Be blessed and bless others,



  • By -Jim-, April 29, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

    Fedelis led the way. I hope other people will follow her path or something similar.

    PS: I’m waiting for more comments. I can see some people taking her deeds out of context. Also, a very long Podcast :) …20 minutes maximum is always good.

  • By Mwangi, April 29, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

    @Jim: I hope people follow in her footsteps too.
    Shorter podcasts, and according to one reader, divide them into 5-10 minute chunks. Got it, will see what other people have to say about that. What do you mean by “people taking her deeds out of context”?

  • By -Jim-, April 29, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    People with political minds might take it in a different way i.e Kikuyu Woman saving a poor, AID stricken, Luo community.

  • By Nerimae, April 29, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

    RIP, a true Kenyan hero. I think the best justice we can do to our heores is open a museum/ gallery that highlights their achievements. I didnt even know who she was, thanks for the info.

  • By Mwangi, April 29, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    @Jim: You know I thought of that too. To be honest I think it’s one of those things I am willing to endure to get the message out there….let the tribalists say what they will, I don’t give two left feet.
    She was a great woman and greatness knows not tribe.

  • By Mwangi, April 29, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

    @Nerimae: How could would that be? A museum dedicated to celebrating all our achievements. We could even make it a place where kids have to go and maybe we can even have tribal elders tell the kids stories and guest lectures….the mind buzzes with ideas.
    Your welcome for the information, hope it inspires you in some way, shape or form.

  • By mamashady, April 30, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet (I will)..and I’m already inspired. RIP to her. She sounds like an amazing individual. When I grow up I wouldn’t mind being a little like her. Heres to each one of us making a positive contribution to the world

  • By Mwangi, May 1, 2008 @ 2:00 am

    @nyarshady: I second that salute and over time I hope to cram this podcast full of inspirational folks and anecdotes from all over our great continent.

  • By mamashady, May 1, 2008 @ 6:42 am

    you interviewed your mum;)Fidelis is/was a COOL WOMAN.
    @Jim:that anyone would think of bringing up tribal lines would be an affront to their own character.So I’m with you, I really do hope they don’t. It doesn’t take much to see the humility that this woman had in her approach ,practicing what she believed, what was right.

  • By Mwangi, May 1, 2008 @ 6:58 am

    @mamashady: Initially I thought I would eventually interview Fidelis once this blog was older but since that didn’t happen and we were both such huge believers in what Fidelis did, we thought, why not? That and I’m a huge mama’s boy ;)
    My hope is that the tribal issue will definitely not factor into this podcast or discussion of it at all. I will be pretty militant against it on this blog and I hope everyone else who discusses it sees it for what it is: A great example of a great lady who should be emulated across all tribal and racial lines.

  • By who me, May 12, 2008 @ 3:31 am

    Took me a while to get to this article. she’s truly inspirational.
    You! A mothers boy! don’t even get me started. :P

  • By Mwangi, May 12, 2008 @ 3:34 am

    @who me: At the core isn’t every African boy a mama’s boy ;) Hope it inspired you and whoever you decided to share it with.

  • By Caroline, May 20, 2008 @ 8:07 am

    Congratulations on your first podcast and for the wonderful choice of topic.
    I personally was inspired by Fidelis because she overlooked what some would have seen as “obstacles” and chose to work for and serve the greater cause of humanity. We are all ONE aren’t we? :-)

    By the way your mom has the sweetest voice! Her delivery was quite engaging!

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

    @Caroline: My Mum says thanks. Thx 4 giving it a listen and the kind words. I find it pretty cool how she indeed managed to act and change lives in spite of being in a state where many Africans would consider you handicapped – single,poor African woman in a community outside of where she was born.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Mwangi Interviews African Leadership Academy Student: Tabitha Tongoi - The Displaced African — August 12, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

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