Trees for Life is happy to report on the journey of Ms. Ndetei, from a member of parliament, to Moringa herbalist. Her journey began in 1997 when she lost her seat in parliament. As part of the process of charting a new life and reinventing herself Agnes moved to the United States where in 2003 she learned that she had breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed with cancer, and it was a terrifying experience. I did not know who to turn to. I called my parents back in Wote – my rural home — and they told me about some herbs that could help cure my condition. I asked them to mail the herbs to me.” Ms. Ndetei said.
Meanwhile she underwent surgery to remove the tumor in her breast. “The Moringa herbs arrived and after I took them, believe you me, I was tested, and the cancer was gone.” she said. Moringa became the second part of her treatment and the one which Agnes believes was the final victory over her cancer. This experience and her belief in Moringa started Ms. Ndetei to found the Solace Self Help Group in 2008. Ms. Ndetei relates that in Kenya Moringa products have been accepted by the ministry of Health for their medicinal properties. In March of 2010 the Solace Self Help Group was funded by the African Medical Research Foundation to administer the Moringa herb to people living with HIV/Aids.
In her mission to expand the awareness and knowledge of the benefits of Moringa, the Solace Group, has planted more that a half million Moringa oleifera trees. This action grew out of her passion about growing back trees that have been lost. In desperation, people can’t see past their next meal and have been cutting down trees to sell at any price, not realizing that the price they are paying will be devastating for them. Their “meal today, none tomorrow” mentality brought about by famine and starvation has shortened their vision.
Agnes has now moved the Solace Self Help Group into the next phase of service to her community, providing water wells. These well are the foundation of her program to support the people’s need for access to water for themselves and their plants. Her group has completed the first well and is now working on its second. The wells will sustain an initial field of green peas and mango trees. Her future dream is to create a permanent funding source by marketing the organic mangoes on the international market.