#HumansofImpactHub Kelsi Hines

BY ROSS FORMLEY

Here’s a story that involves organic farming, HIV/AIDS, and a small island on Lake Victoria. A young man, an orphan to HIV, was voted by his community of 24,000 to become a testing counselor for their island’s HIV/AIDS crisis. He began training on the mainland where he had access to the internet. Once on the computer, he learned about the organic farming movement, specifically WOOF. He went back to his island home and convinced his family to begin hosting international travelers. Volunteers began trickling through. And one couple felt so welcome in the community, they decided to stay. In fact, they started a nonprofit to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis and cut the stigma around it: Organic Health Response.

Then there was Kelsi, who had just finished a semester abroad in Kenya and had plans to WOOF. When she made it to the small island, traveling with her sister, she, like the others, wished to stay involved with the community. She’s been with Organic Health Response for seven years now and started as their executive director this July.

Kelsi is a force: confident, calm. She swims in Lake Victoria despite warnings about its levels of pollution; sings (listens, really) to karaoke; admits that she dances in her home, probably to afropop; and bikes and camps. As a trained midwife, she can help deliver your baby at home. She is full of great stories.

Here’s one to end with, in her words: “One of my goals coming to Impact Hub was to try to understand and engage with the international nonprofit community here in Minnesota. I know people exist, but I have no clue where they are. And when I came here, I was on a tour and the other woman with me was also an executive director of a small community-health nonprofit in Sierra Leone!”

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