By Daniel Kabugo, Adara Uganda Country Director
and Audette Exel, Founder Adara Group
We stood together today. A man from Kiwoko town, in central Uganda, and a woman from Dunedin, New Zealand. One of us spent our early life in hunger and in fear, hiding in the jungle during the bush war, in the face of more horror than he can describe. He was sheltered by a Mother who was a Lioness. The other one spent her childhood playing and laughing, with food on the table, free education, and the safety of a world without war. She was raised by parents who taught her about giving, and about gratitude.
We stood together today, representing our colleagues, friends and all of the Adara family, as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Kiwoko Hospital. 25 years of medical service to those in need.
The Adara Group has had the honour of partnering with the community and the staff of Kiwoko Hospital for nearly 19 years. Kiwoko has served a catchment of more than 800,000 people with critical health care. They have done this from the depths of despair in the war, to becoming a centre of excellence for the entire country in this time of peace. Adara is proud to have been a part of that journey.
This is a community that lost 30% of its members in brutality and horror, and yet refused to be destroyed. Step by step it rebuilt, around this tiny wee bush hospital. And today, one by one, the “historicals”: those who have been here from the beginning, stood up to tell their stories.
“From the dry bones of the dead, now there are so many living people,” they told us.
“We carried bricks, we chopped wood, we gave vaccinations.”
“It was a very scary place, but I found family here.”
25 years later, 40,000 babies delivered. More than 1 million patients treated. Joy and hope and gratitude, and a deep partnership that has changed our lives, and the lives of so many of the Adara Kiwoko family.
We danced. We laughed. We bowed our heads as the list of those who were here at the beginning and no longer lived was read. We wrapped our arms around our friends, and the many heroes of this place.
And we felt the deepest sense of gratitude that our lives had brought us here today, standing together on behalf of the Adara family. The girl from Dunedin New Zealand, and the boy from Kiwoko Uganda.
Happy anniversary Kiwoko: we are so proud to be your partner.