Cinder block by cinder block, Father Emmanuel Ihemedu’s dream of bringing health care to thousands of needy villagers in his native Ejemekwuru, Imo State Nigeria, has edged closer to reality.
A former assistant pastor of St. Aedan and St. Brendan churches in Westville and the current vice president of the Hartford-New Haven based charitable agency Marycare, Emmanuel is once again turning to his friends in New Haven, to help complete construction of a life-saving health clinic.
Currenty serving as pastor of St. Justin & St. Michael Parishes in Hartford, Emmanuel is in frequent contact with Marycare board members in New Haven who share his dream of a better life for the people of his home village. Emmanuel’s own sister died of a water-borne disease, a fate of many who do not have access to potable water. Another Marycare project brought relief in the way of new wells and filtration systems that spared villagers the perils of contaminated waters but also the dangerous hardship of traveling to and from water sites located miles away.
Previous fundraisers at Kehler Liddell Gallery and at Lyric Hall have propelled the project forward, bringing hope to a region where life expectancy is challenged in every direction: “There are no words to express my joy that finally my people have hope of having access to medical screening for malaria, typhoid, prenatal care, safer childbirth, and better nutrition” said the pastor after his recent return from Nigeria where he worked and oversaw progress on the clinic.
In a progress report, Emmanuel noted that “For the two weeks I stayed, we were able to work on plastering, floor and bathroom wall tiles, ceiling, plumbing, electrical, windows, doors, iron bars for the windows, septic tank and soak-away. We also drilled a water borehole in the clinic compound, with a 1000-gallon gp tank sitting on 20 fit steel tank stand.”
A minimum of $8,000 is currently needed to provide a water-pumping generator, energy, and for painting. Emmanuel said that anything left over will go toward furnishings and interior equipment, not covered by the $8,000 estimate. To raise money for the final effort of the clinic’s completion, Marycare is sponsoring an evening of cocktails, entertainment, and silent auction that will be held at St. Thomas More Golden Center at Yale, at 268 Park St. in New Haven on February 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 pm. All are welcomed.
Those wishing to contribute can help by writing a check to Marycare and mailing it to 230 Blue Hills Ave., Hartford, CT 06112, or may donate via PayPal on the Marycare website.