Feisty and 88, Arlene Brown doesn’t let herself get bossed around. But when the Rwandan government started closing orphanages, even she had to oblige.
Brown’s Urukundo Village had become one of the most celebrated homes for children in the East African country since she opened it in 2006.
So, four years after The Philadelphia Inquirer first told the story of this age-defying Pennsylvania native unwilling to “sit back and rot” in retirement, Brown is doubling down to remain relevant and make an impact.
“Until the Lord calls me home, there is no end,” she said recently, back in the United States to see family and raise funds. “And I’m not in any hurry for that, because I’ve got a lot of work yet to do.”
Brown abides in the Lord, the force that first drew her to Africa, in 1996. Then 65, she had prayed in her Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home for something more purposeful than the traveling she had been doing since retiring from GTE Sylvania after 20 years as a supervisor of circuit board production. The next morning, she read about a mission trip to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to work in a refugee camp not far from the Rwanda border. Volunteers were needed to help with children who had lost parents in the horrifying 1994 genocide that claimed about 800,000 lives.