Yesterday’s sunshine did wonders and much of the mud dried up. The workers managed to get the roof on the main building and everything felt very good last night. At midnight it started to rain again and it continued to pour down all night. Charles left this morning saying it was muddy, but still quite OK. We quickly decided to spread flower petals over the areas that were the muddiest. Just before 11 am, the Foundation’s board of directors arrived together with Ambassador Ann Dismorr from the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, Bodil Erikson from Apotek Hjärta, and most of the locally invited guests. Students from the Gundua Secondary School were present from an early stage. 11 am passed, and none of the higher representatives for either education or healthcare had yet arrived. “Let’s wait for a while — this is Africa”, said Charles. The District Commissioner then arrived together with the Provincial Medical Officer and Area Officer, all important representatives of the Kenyan government at different levels. All very important to have in the process. Many speeches and some entertainment followed. The students sang and danced and held speeches. Their parents entered dancing, dressed in traditional clothes, singing traditional songs, and invited Ambassador Dismorr, Bodil Erikson, Richard Ohlson, and the minister in charge of higher education who had just arrived. This minister gave a strong and emotional speech relating to both the school and the health centre, and promised continued support, engagement and partnership between the foundation and the Kenyan government.
This is a good sign for the future, but we know from experience that we need to follow up and confirm this pledge, again and again.
Bodil Erikson surprised everyone by handing over a great additional donation from Apotek Hjärta — an ambulance that can serve the area and also function as health transport. The inauguration was concluded by Ambassador Ann Dismorr, who declared the Gundua Health Centre formally opened, cutting the ribbon and unveiling a memorial plaque.
This was followed by a lunch in the school’s newly completed dining room. The students’ grades have rapidly increased, and the school is now ranked 2nd in the whole region, with the goal of becoming the best school within a few years. This has been a fantastic development since the start, and many more students are now moving on to university studies.
Dark clouds are forming in the sky. By the time everyone is back from the inauguration ceremony, the rain is back with full force. It doesn’t matter. It has been a very successful day.
In the evening, we’re hosting a dinner with Swedish connections, and lively discussions about the day and how the school and the health centre will develop. The health centre should be completed by February 2012. That’s when all equipment, personnel and routines and processes for running the centre should be in place. The will be many challenges before everything is running smoothly, but we are confident that the health centre will make a fantastic contribution to health in our community. There is no doubt that the school is already a success story; already after a few years one of the best schools in the district, and in the long term possibly a top school in Kenya.