Thanks to our thousand plus supporters, friends at Nike and Runner’s World Magazine and other generous organizations, the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund team and our sister organization Love Mercy Australia, Kristina Health Center (KHC) was formally dedicated on August 25, 2012.
Julius Achon’s dream – bringing healthcare for the first time to thousands in Awake village and beyond was realized. Named after Julius’ mother, Kristina, killed in Awake in 2004 by LRA rebels, KHC will provide essential and life saving healthcare to the community. (note: The health center concept was formally launched in January 2010; construction commenced in April, 2011; the total cost of the project, thus far, is $185,000. Kristina Health Center was 100% built by the hands of villagers and local tradespersons.)
Over three thousand people, many walking several miles to the health center campus, attended the dedication. The singing, dancing, speeches and atmosphere were joyous. The local crowd was joined by a team of 27 from America and Australia who had worked diligently the past two years to raise the funds needed to help bring Julius’ dream to reality. Julius spoke to the crowd “to not let the death of his mother Kristina be in vain, but be the seed to become a flower for the community”. Together with the Honorable Achieng Sarah Opendi, Uganda Minister of Primary Health Care, Julius cut the ceremonial ribbon and Kristina Health Center was declared open. Minister Achieng spoke eloquently of the shining example of one barefoot village boy, abducted at the age of 12 as a child soldier, later to become a celebrated Ugandan Olympic runner, then returning to his village to help. She urged the youth in attendance to follow the example set by Julius and, as he preaches daily, “never give up”.
Before the dedication ribbon was even cut, local healthcare workers provided blood testing for adults and inoculations to children of the community in the health center. Vaccines for inoculations were available due to the first ever solar power in Awake powering the only refrigerator/freezer in the local healthcare network. Full health center operations will commence October 1 as the newly hired Ugandan medical staff relocate to the Kristina living quarters and a shipment of medicines and supplies is delivered.