A dream becomes reality

The care Chiara Castellani takes to improve health at Kimbau

Soon a small hydroelectric power station will work to provide water and energy for her hospital. Other projects, supported by AIFO, will be fulfilled to grant better living conditions to the local population
24 febbraio 2005
by Mariella Spagnolo

Since the 1990s doctor Chiara Castellani has been working hard in the small hospital at Kimbau, a village buried deep in the farthermost part of the Congo, 500 Km from Kinshasa. Despite extreme poverty and ethnic strife she goes on working with determination and courage to save lives, to soothe the pain of the neglected, to develop the right to Health .Since she was a child she has had a dream: helping the people living in outer African villages, the people who do not have the chance to give voice to their sorrow, the people who fight to affirm their dignity. She has been living with the African community with whom she shares hard work, sufferings, failures. She gave up any privileges to be poor, among poor.

Every day she challenges reality, but the most tragic is the spread of illnesses, above all malaria, tuberculosis, measles, AIDS, whose victims are the inhabitants of Kimbau. As result of the growing phenomenon of desertification, people suffer and die from famine and malnutrition. The consequence is high infant death rate. C.C. worries and works trying to find a remedy to this bitter reality by visiting and curing hundreds of ill people living in remote villages, quite always difficult to be reached. The hospital in Kimbau- given by AIFO at her arrival- is an old building that dates back to Belgian Colonisation. Here lack of medicines, electricity, water and hygienic conditions does not impede her to cure and look after poor, ill people.

Today, in the end, the project supported by AIFO to provide water and electricity to the hospital is to become reality. A small hydroelectric power station has been built, a water pipe line and the conversion of the hospital have been fulfilled. In addition the Minister for Electricity has declared his own responsibility for the hydroelectric distribution in the surrounding villages. It is the beginning of a new era for Kimbau and for the Hospital, too. As Chiara Castellani says in her book Una lampadina per Kimbau ,Mondadori “ It was worth dreaming. If we had not be able to go beyond reality, we could not have been here”.

Chiara Castellani has not stopped dreaming, yet! She is going towards new pathways, towards a new, better quality of life for her people, in order for them to become aware of their rights, being protagonists of their change. Appointed as head of the “High Institute of Nursing Science” she deals with the sanitary training of the local young people to develop an independent running of the hospital and to grant, in the future, health care to the poorest. She is also responsible for a project whose aim is to rise the literacy rate, in the area near to the Kenge Diocese, and to spread information, among children and families, about transmitted diseases.

Chiara: a strong, determined dreamer, who has never stopped dreaming: Despite the arrogance of those in power, who have sometimes been obstacles for her goals; despite the horrors of war and its bitter reality, which has put an end to the lives of those she loves. Her bright dream drives her towards skies of Justice, Legality, Love and Peace .Should they shine on troubled Africa!

Note: (translated by Titti Bucci)
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