Video: Into Africa

By Brian Williams Anchor & “Nightly News” managing editor
NBC News
updated 5/23/2006 10:34:59 PM ET 2006-05-24T02:34:59

Bono is back in Africa. He's back to see the status of two programs he's allied with, one called DATA, the other called ONE. Two million people have joined up, pledging to end poverty around the globe, starting with Africa.

"Three babies and three children, one bed, get your head around that if you can," Bono says while visiting a health clinic in Kigali, Rwanda.

Rwanda is one of Bono's first stops. It will forever be remembered for the genocide of 1994.

Today, it's a nation forging ahead with plans to develop its way out of poverty. You see the signs everywhere. Like a new project outside the capital city of Kigali — coffee beans that are destined for Starbucks.

"This is malaria and malnutrition?" Bono asks.

But despite these steps, Rwanda is still fighting the three biggest killers in Africa: AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Each year, 6 million die from these diseases.

"I do not see any difference between the failure to raise the alarm for the massacres and the genocide in Rwanda and the failure to raise the alarm on these killer diseases which mutilate," Bono said Friday during a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Malaria is a huge killer of children in Rwanda, in part because a lot of families can't even afford a simple $5 mosquito net that would protect a child from contracting the illness.

"You go to work probably on an empty stomach," a Rwandan nurse says. "You walk back home, but yet you are entrusted with the lives of people. You have to smile at them. You have to give them hope. It's not easy."

"What's your name?" Bono asks her.

"I am Florence."

"This is actually Florence Nightingale," he says.

This continent has become Bono's calling. It is an enormous task. He has put together an army of allies. From President Bush to the author of the "Purpose-Driven Life," evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who happily teamed up with the Irish rock star in working toward the same goal.

"He's the real deal," Warren says. "He knows what he's talking about. Bono understands what I call 'the stewardship of affluence and influence,' in that God does not give us either money or fame for our own ego. But we're to use it. It's a stewardship. And I love the way that he's leveraging the fame that he has — for good."

Bono hopes that "good" will become the new reality in Africa. He hopes to convert money into great and lasting change. And Bono knows it would be impossible without the spirit of the people.

On Monday and Tuesday, Brian will report from Africa, traveling with Bono to several nations to report on the global effort to fight AIDS and poverty.

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