The woman risking her life to save a village from lead poisoning

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Phyllis at the grave of a 3 month old baby who recently died as a result of lead poisoning from the factory nearby. Mombasa, Kenya (CNN)On a hot afternoon at a sprawling settlement on the outskirts of Mombasa, Phyllis Omido makes her rounds. For close to a decade, Omido has been visiting the Owino Uhuru village, monitoring the various illnesses, deaths, and miscarriages that have occurred since a nearby smelter contaminated the village’s air and water with lead. She passes through the rows of small, mud-walled homes that make up this densely packed village and pokes her head through the doorway of her first visit: Catherine Okello, a small, sickly 35-year-old woman. On the couch next to Okello, Omido listens to her say in a soft, quiet voice that she’s barely eaten in two weeks. Adjacent to them are two framed photos: one of Okello’s five-year-old son staring into the camera, and another of his casket. Omido tells Okello to pack a few items of clothing; she needs to go to the doctor, Omido says. "Somehow, Catherine’s whole family was exposed to very high lead levels," Omido says of the ailing mother. "I haven’t understood why, because they weren’t […]

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