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By Jessie Stone
Learn more about Jessie Stone here

February 18, 2006

I think everybody has days that go down in your personal history
as days you will never forget. I am especially reminded of that
watching the Olympics right now. Every athlete competing has worked
long and hard to be where they are and you can see and feel it in
their performances. And it is so exciting and inspiring to see. For
me, my Olympic unforgettable day occurred on January 18th, 2006.
This was the day that we finally opened the Soft Power Health clinic
in Kyabirwa village near Bujagali Falls in Uganda. This day was the
realization of a big dream and the manifestation of a lot of hard
work of many people. It had been three years almost to the day that
I had made my first trip to Uganda with EJ, Clay, Jay, and Chris
Emerick, and had been introduced to the Mighty Nile River and the
devastating effects of Malaria first hand thanks to EJ’s willing
self sacrifice. That trip was a life changing experience for me.
Thus, the day was all the more special for me that all those same
people were there for the opening plus Kristine, Emily, Dane, Nick,
Devon, and Stephen.

And it was not just having everyone there but the fact that
everyone had gotten involved in helping to make the clinic ready to
open. While I was running around getting all the medical equipment
and drugs for the clinic, everyone else was pitching in with last
minute details like painting the building, cleaning the inside,
digging ditches, and planting the garden in front of the clinic
which Emily and Kristine had put extra effort into doing, more on
that later. (And I would like to add a special note here that if you
ever need to really clean a sink, Kristine is your woman!) When the
time came for the official opening, and believe me in Uganda, they
love things done “officially” with all the pomp and circumstance
that goes along with it, we had the entire village of Kyabirwa turn
out plus a whole group of other interested people from around Jinja
and Kampala. To be standing before all those people and telling them
about our clinic and the services it will offer the community on
that day with so much support was one of the most magical
experiences of my life. After many sleepless nights and hours of
deliberation of how the heck was I going to pull this one off, it
was finally happening. One thing is for sure though, none of it
would have happened without lots of help from people who cared and I
am so grateful for that and for everyone’s ongoing support. And it
also reinforces one of my favourite sayings, “Anything is possible
with unlimited enthusiasm!”