Every year on 1st of October, Catholics the world over celebrate St. Therese’s Feast Day. St. Therese of the child Jesus is our patron saint, and so it goes without saying that we celebrate the feast each year without fail. This year, we chose to celebrate it on 30th September, which was on a Saturday, so as to avoid inconveniencing our guests. This year’s celebration had a beautiful twist to it, as the hospital’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan would also be launched on the same day.
After months of preparations, Saturday was finally here with us, and the excitement around the hospital was almost tangible. Remember how would start the Christmas countdown as early as March when we were kids? Well, that is the same exact state the STMH-K had been in, in the days leading up to 30th September. You cannot really fault us then for having been hyper excited when the day finally arrived.
Our guests also seemed to have caught the excitement bug, with some of them arriving as early as 8.30 a.m. The choir kept us all thoroughly entertained as we waited for the guests. By 9.45 am, Ms. Jacinta Mutegi, (National Executive Secretary-KCCB), the Chief Guest, and Rev. Fr. Bernard Njeru, the mass celebrant had already arrived, and our ceremony officially kicked off.
To start us off, the invited guests, the hospital’s management team, the board members and the clergy all proceeded to St. Therese’s grotto, where Fr. Bernard prayed and blessed us all. After this there was a tree planting ceremony, presided over by Mr. Morris Kaumbuthu, the hospital’s Deputy Administrator’s. Jacinta Mutegi (chief guest) and Sr. Maria Pia, (the hospital’s founder) each planted a tree as. The tree planting was very significant and symbolic, and it definitely ensures that even the generations to come will be reminded of this day.
After the tree planting ceremony, we all went back to the main grounds, for mass celebration. Fr. Bernard gave us a brief history of St. Therese’s life, and he helped us draw lessons from the way she led her life. Other clergy men from the Meru diocese, and the Nyeri diocese were also present, and they helped Fr. Bernard celebrate mass. The choir did not disappoint, as they punctuated the mass with beautiful melodies, whenever called upon.
After the mass, we all could not contain our excitement, as it was time to finally launch the strategic plan. Colorful balloons, confetti and ululations filled the air, as the document was officially handed over to the hospital’s management team, and board. Mercy Masika’s ‘Mwema’ sweetly filled the air, as we all meditated on hoe good God has been to us as a community. STMH-K’s staff pleasantly surprised us with their awesome moves, as the documented was being handed over. It was an extremely beautiful and memorable moment.
Entertainment was top notch, as the lovely children from Machaka awed us with their vigorous dance moves. The skit they had prepared left us in stitches, but we also learnt valuable lessons about St. Therese. Children from the Kiirua community did not disappoint also, and even the stiffest amongst us could not resist bobbing their heads and tapping their feet.
Despite the excitement, our stomachs had started grumbling by around .00pm, and the catering team treated us to a very sumptuous meal. We all ate to our fill, with some of us going back for second helpings.
After lunch, we had speeches from various speakers who are affiliated with STMH-K in one way or another. First in line was Mr. Morris Kirimi, (Caritas Director) who talked on behalf of the community around the hospital. We also heard from Senior Chief Kimonye, on behalf of the local administration, the DOM Health coordinator, Timothy Mbaabu , (Hospital Staff Representative), Mr. Kelvin from NIC Bank, Dr. Muriithi(consultant), Mr Mbogori, (hospital board), and Mr John from Lewa Down conservancy, who spoke on behalf of the hospital’s partners. They all congratulated STMH-K’s community for the great accomplishment.
Ms. Jacinta Mutegi, the chief guest, also congratulated the hospital for the strategic plan, but also reminded us that without our commitment and input, it would just remain a document. She also touched a bit on the scripture, and reminded us about the power of forgiveness.
Sr. Mary Agnes Nkatha, the hospital’s administrator, spoke on behalf of the hospital’s management. She took us through STMH’s journey since its inception, up until that day. She talked of the challenges experienced, and the hospital’s future ambitions.
The Deputy Administrator, Morris Kaumbuthu, who was also the day’s MC, appreciated everyone for gracing the occasion, and Fr. Temu, the hospital’s chaplain closed off the ceremony with a word of prayer, at around 5.00pm.
Guests left at their own pleasure, as we all unanimously agreed that it had been indeed a splendid day.