Grand Opening!

By Jackson Vukovic – Health Project Volunteer 5 years ago
Categories Uncategorized

This week we had an amazing invite to attend the Grand Opening of the shiny new CCC (Comprehensive Care Clinic) for HIV Positive patients and Resources Centre or, as we commonly call it, The Shimoni Youth Centre! You may be wondering why we refer to it as a youth center when it is an office for HIV drug dispensing, but there is one simple answer. This one building will house not only the new Office and Pharmacy for HIV drug dispensing but also a hall space for health meetings, verandah and outdoor area for assemblies and presentations and eventually a computer lab and area for Shimoni youth to attend activities. What a dynamo of healthy-ness under one roof in one new building!

The MC (master of ceremony) for the opening event was none other than the Shimoni Public Health Officer, Mr. Patrick, a dear friend and colleague of GVI, and always a very welcoming spirit. After helping out at the Dispensary for a little while before the event began, the GVI health team headed down to the new youth center (positioned near the Shimoni Dispensary) and took our seats. However, before this, Mr. Patrick had sprung it upon Kopa (GVI Health Field Staff), Diego and Swalehe (Shimoni Dispensary Staff) to prepare and perform a poem. So the guys put their heads together and prepared an awesome poem about HIV/AIDS!

Among the guests for the day’s opening celebrations were local officials from around Shimoni. Also invited and kindly attending were officials from surrounding areas such as; The District Health Officer for Msambweni (the Kenyan district containing Shimoni Village), Medical professionals from Aga Khan Health Service in Mombasa and an international guest medical doctor who has been working closely with Kenya to further develop health services.

Before the presentations and speeches from various officials began, we were treated with some nice music and lots of smiling, happy faces (the Community Health Workers who had worked very hard to set up for the day). Justyna and myself (Health Project Volunteers) enjoyed the days presentation very much…..we were challenged a lot seeing as everyone who gave a speech spoke in Kiswahili! The incredible poem performed by Kopa, Diego and Swalehe (also in Kiswahili) was amazing and we could see the passion within them! Unfortunately we are not yet fluent, but we were able to guess and understand what the presenters were talking about……we think!

After the presentations were completed and all the presenters had finished, we were kindly asked to stay for lunch as well! We were served up healthy and hearty portions of Rice ‘Pilau’ with ‘Katchumbari’. This amazingly tasty dish is a traditional, local favourite of the Kenyan coastline. In plain English for those of us who can’t yet master Swahili (me), Pilau is heavily spiced/seasoned rice and Katchumbari is a combination of fresh red onions and tomatoes with an oil/vinegar dressing.Yum! And thus the day’s presentation was complete, our bellies were filled with delicious food and we were invited to take a look at the furnished CCC office – another great day on the GVI Kenyan Shimoni Health Project.

Jackson Vukovic – Health Project Volunteer