USAID Office of Press Relations, Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:
Wilmington, Delaware

Monday, November 13, 2017

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: First off, it's great to be here. It's great to be here in Senator Coons' state, and constituency, and I've got to tell you, I feel blessed to be here. Senator Coons is a huge supporter of the work that we do at the USAID and also, quite frankly, he's a just great friend. We share a lot of values, and we share a passion for lifting lives and building communities. And there are very few people in Washington D.C. who are doing more for the cause than Senator Chris Coons.

In terms of my background, I think what I always point to is really, quite frankly, my time as Ambassador. Going back 30 years ago, my wife and I --

MS. SCHRAYER: We won't do all 30 years. (laughter)

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Sue and I, my wife, Sue and I were teachers in Kenya (inaudible) and lived and worked in a village where only about half the kids ever went to any kind of school at all, and only a handful would ever graduate from school.

My time as Ambassador, I think drove it home more than anything else. And I remember one day, my father, who had just retired as a physician, and he and I delivered food to AIDS shut-ins in a place called Morogoro, Tanzania. And I remember going to do that with him, feeling very proud of myself -- my dad, the doctor, is actually going to see something close to doing rounds in East Africa. I remember going to one place that looked more like a farm shed than a home, and going inside. And no light, of course, no electricity. And finally waiting until my eyes adjusted to the light, and seeing a poor woman, obviously very, very ill with AIDS, sitting on a little bucket in the center of a dirt floor, and we delivered some grain for her family.

And I remember her looking at me and saying, "I just have one question." I said, "Okay." And she said, "I used to be a businesswoman, and I was successful. My husband contracted AIDS, and died." Half her children had died from complications of AIDS, and she said, the question is, "With the last bit of money I have, should I buy books for my children who are healthy or meds for the ones who are not?"

How do you answer a question like that?

And I remember as I was walking away, my dad saying to me, "Mark, can't the government do something for them?" There's no welfare. There's no Medicaid. This is it. If we don't do this, it doesn't happen. You cannot go through an experience like that and not believe that America is a force for good in the world. 

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