For the past decade, Adara has had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. It has been an amazing partnership, which has shown us all the exponential power of linking the business sector with those in need in the developing world. Together, we have bridged worlds, and changed lives for the people of Kiwoko Hospital.
Each year, staff members from Aspen offices across the globe come to Kiwoko Hospital to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Every year, they leave inspired. Here is their experience.
By Kash Nazir
Falling asleep very early the previous night (8:30pm), I was woken up by the rain. Having to negotiate the mosquito net to get out of bed was the first trial of the day, and I was glad to have passed it (barely!).
After a short cold shower and quick breakfast, we headed off in the rain to morning prayers. For those from England the rain was not a welcome piece of home. The congregation however was very pleased, and thanked us for bringing the rain with us. The surrounding area had been suffering through drought, and the rain was very much appreciated.
I am personally not a Christian, and at first was unsure what to expect from the prayers. Some hymns were sung, and as they were the community started to trickle in. As more arrived, the sound and feeling in the room changed. The chaplain started to speak, and led the congregation in songs not from the hymnbook, but from the heart. The joy and love seemed to come spilling out so much more with these songs and the sound was beautiful. The morning prayers are not just for God – the time is also used for making announcements in the community. Thomas thanked the community, and introduced us. The chaplain had some fun making some marriage announcements, and more information about the upcoming Kiwoko Chase.
With the prayers concluded we made our way to the CBHC (Community Based Healthcare) hall, where we were advised on the challenges and the strengths for Kiwoko and the CBHC by Moses. Moses has been a volunteer since near the beginning of Kiwoko, and now heads up the unit. It was brilliant hearing more about the unit, and it being 100% donor funded, the crucial role of Adara.
We entered the first village in the rain, and dropped off the staff to ready the clinic for the day while we went to see successful sanitation projects Moses took pride in. Each house held a different story of how the team had helped the community to help themselves. Incentives were put in place for the construction, and guidance on how to improve hygiene. The small changes were elegant in their simplicity, and huge in the benefits. Putting in place proper boundaries for their gardens to make it clear where the jungle begins, and the house ends. A can to wash your hands, which uses a stick attached to string (hands free cleaning!).
On our route back we were able to see the clinic set up, and babies being weighed. During our time there a baby that had malnutrition was brought in, and the Kiwoko team was able to make arrangements for them to be referred to the main hospital. The clinic is vital to reaching those in the villages, that would otherwise not have an opportunity to be assessed, and adequate treatment given.
HIV not only breaks apart families through the family connections it cuts but also leaves many women as the only breadwinners in the home. Kiwoko helps give these ladies an opportunity by learning crafts, and creating fantastic items for income. Today we heard their stories, and some of us even got to try our hand at craft making! The patterns were very familiar to me, with my mom and gran having similar items in the house. They would use them to put roti on (type of flatbread).
Tomorrow, we will be going to the HIV clinic, and finding out much more at the work done there.