When Father Emmanuel Ihemedu came before the Westville community and supporters at a fundraiser at Lyric Hall last February, a new health clinic under construction in his hometown of Ejemekwuru, Imo State Nigeria, was a mere foundation built on a dream.
The former assistant pastor of St. Aedan Church in Westville, Fr. Emmanuel also serves as vice president of Marycare, a New Haven-based charity dedicated to saving lives, and bringing educational opportunity and economic development to impoverished areas around the world.
Fr. Emmanuel, who currently serves as pastor of St. Justin and St. Michael Parishes in Hartford, subscribes to the biblical notion that “faith without works is dead.” As such, he has been on a trajectory of life-saving good works drawing in friends, believers and non-believers alike, to a mission of saving and improving the lives of those that have very little. His own sister died of exposure to waterborne typhoid, as had many villagers before Marycare’s work in bringing a life-changing water project to Umuoduwa, Ejemekwuru.
Fresh from his visit to Nigeria, where he was helping to supervise the construction of the new health clinic, Fr. Emmanuel was excited to share news about the clinic’s progress with the “gracious men and women of New Haven who came out in great numbers to support our fund raising effort.” He offered the update in an interview with the Independent. Noting previously that 95 percent of all donated monies are applied directly to their life-sustaining efforts and not administrative costs, Fr. Emmanuel said he wanted supporters to know “what we are doing with their sacrificial giving.”
Since construction resumed on May 8, workers have been busily erecting walls and have, with the completion of the roof, “ushered in the final phase of the clinic building.” New labor estimates for electrical, plumbing, and other mechanical systems as well as essential interior elements, will require additional funds in the range of $20,000—around the cost of building a quality two-car garage here. Total building cost is
$30,000, $9,000 of which was raised at the Lyric Hall fund-raiser earlier this year. “We are thinking of another fund raiser to finish the project in no distant time,” noted the charismatic and beloved priest.
For those who have no access to medical care or medicines, the new clinic may make the difference between life and death. The facility will offer four rooms, one ward, and a reception area as it provides healthcare to 10,000 residents and neighbors of Ejemekwuru.. For the generous contributors who have made construction of the modest clinic possible to this point, Fr. Emmanuel assures that their gifts will be “remembered in perpetuity.” He said he hopes to return to Nigeria immediately after Christmas to continue building, “assuming we are able to raise enough money.” For more information, contact Marycare or Fr. Emmanuel directly.