American Mom Bloggers' Stories From Kenya: ONE Trip That Changed 10 Lives

American moms share stories from their ONE campaign trip to Kenya.

ByABC News
August 5, 2011, 10:50 AM

Aug. 5, 2011 — -- At any other time, San Francisco mom Amy Graff would be thinking about sending her kids to summer camp, keeping them out of the sun, and saving them from the perils of the deep end. But this summer, she's in Kenya, Africa, and her worries are completely different.

"All I could think was, 'Please don't be positive. Please don't be positive,'" blogged Amy Graff on Baby Center last week. "As we waited for the results of an HIV test given to two children, ages 3 and 5, I was terrified. I found myself praying ... 'Please, God. Please, God. I know you haven't heard from me in a while, but please, don't let it happen' ... Then second lines ran across the [test] strips. My heart sank."

Graff is one of 10 American mom bloggers who recently traveled to Kenya on a weeklong trip with the ONE campaign to write about the joys and sorrows of mothers who live half a world away in Kenya.

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They met HIV-positive mothers testing their children for the virus, saw the dramatic difference a malaria vaccine could make in the lives of Kenyan women and children, and met health care workers who bike, or walk, miles to reach their patients. Then, they shared their experiences with their hundreds of thousands of readers back in the U.S.

For all the differences, the similarities were what really hit home for many of the American women.

As blogger Jyl Pattel wrote, "When I asked a cute African mom what her greatest challenge was, I predicted her answer would be 'Keeping my children alive.' What I heard instead was the same thing I'm concerned with: 'Raising good children.' Women around the world all have challenges. But ultimately, at our core, we have very similar concerns and needs."

Tune in tonight to "World News" as David Muir joins 10 of the most influential American mom bloggers on a journey to Kenya, where they explore the sisterhood of motherhood. Extracts from each of the moms' tales is below. Be on the lookout this fall, when ABC News will be bringing you more stories on the challenges and joys that mothers face around the world.

Amy Graff (BabyCenter) Amy Graff is a blogger for BabyCenter and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Karen Walrond ( Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer. She is also the author of Chookooloonks, an award-winning photo blog.

Rachel Fox ( Rachel Fox put aside her nursing career in 1999 to be a full-time mom of three. Her blog, Coming Alive, chronicles her work with ONE and how motherhood has changed her world view.

Jennifer James ( Jennifer James created the Mom Bloggers Club, one of the largest social networks for moms with over 14,000 unique users. She also writes for her personal blog, JJames Online.

Lindsay Maines ( Lindsay Maines is a mother of three as well as a wife to a touring rock bassist. Among other things, she writes for her personal blog, Rock and Roll Mama.

"I heard a Kenyan joke today, 'We don't have oil here in Kenya -- our people are our main exports.' We all laughed, but the truth is, though Kenya has many great natural resources, the people are an amazing asset. ... You really can't fake this level of extraordinary-ness."