Kelly Viernes ʻ10 Mini-Bio Entry

Kelly with her students in Lesotho

Since graduating from ULS, I’ve lived in Eugene, Lesotho, and now Portland. I currently work as an Occupational Therapy Aide part-time while attending school full-time to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I teach Vinyasa yoga for fun and spend most of my free time biking

My Peace Corps experience was a significant part of my life, where I worked with teenage mothers that shifted my perspective on foreign aid and relations. Lesotho is a small country landlocked inside of South Africa. It’s also known as the “mountain kingdom,” having the highest low point of any country. I was a health volunteer that worked in a boarding school for teenage mothers. I was also an educational resource within my village on HIV/AIDS. Lesotho at that time had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world. I worked with the local community to reduce HIV stigma, adhere to HIV medication, and follow HIV prevention strategies while still honoring Basotho (people of Lesotho) customs and culture. I served there from 2015-2017. 

It wasn’t that long ago, but it’s easy to forget how meaningful of an experience it was to live there. They’re going through a very hard time during this pandemic since the majority of people there already lack vital resources, like drinkable water for example. Any nutritional-based donations to Lesotho are needed. (05.20)

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