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 Allison Bassett
This morning we were up before the sun, anxiously awaiting the start of the Kiwoko Chase. We were briefed on the rules of the Chase at dinner the night before. Some of the rules included: whoever registers must participate, walkers are not allowed to run at any point and everyone must appear at the judicators table before jubilation. With these rules in mind, we had a quick breakfast at 6am and headed towards the starting line to being our 16.5km walk/run.
The walkers, myself included, were at the starting line by 6:30am. After a slight delay, the whistle blew and we were off to a speedy start. The runners, including our own Viv, Kashif, Jamie, Kandy and Beth started 15 minutes later and quickly passed us.
After a spirited start I decided, about 1 mile into the race, to switch to a more leisurely pace. I justified this decision by telling myself that a slightly slower pace would give me a better opportunity to take in the scenery. This may have been the best decision I made all day! We walked along winding, red dirt roads with lush greenery on either side and small homes dotted along the way. Children stood along the roadside smiling, waving and shouting “Bye Muzungu”. Luckily muzungu, meaning foreigner, is one of the Lugandan words we learned this week.
Sophie and I managed to make a few friends along the way. A Ugandan lady walked with us for a while before we noticed that she hitched a ride with one of the support vans about 1/3 of the way into the chase. Further down the road we met a little boy who was happy to accompany us for part of the journey. Perhaps he could tell on our faces that the Muzungus could use some extra encouragement.
After a few hours of walking, we finally made it to the finish line. It was a great feeling to finish the chase and I began celebrating until I was quickly reminded of one of the rules “no jubilation before adjudication.” I paused my celebratory dance to pass in my number and officially complete the Kiwoko Chase.
After a shower and a quick rest it was time to head to the prize giving ceremony. Our very own Viv came first in the women’s running category and she won a lovely mattress. Every participant received a prize and a certificate. When my name and number were called I happily went to collect my certificate and prize, a brand new set of bed sheets. I am happy to report that all of the Aspen Ambassadors finished the Kiwoko Chase, some faster than others.
This afternoon we took a walk through the town with some of the Ebenezer boys. It was great spending time with them and getting a chance to chat about what they are doing now. We visited Dan, the local Adara Manager’s home and a school he has built. It was incredible to see his commitment to the community. We also made a stop at Bosco’s Cafe and spent time talking with the owner John Bosco, a popular character in the town. Today was a great way to end our time here at Kiwoko although I think we will all be a bit sad to say goodbye before we leave early tomorrow morning.