Under the baking sun of the Tanzanian summer, a crowd of 200 people celebrated the beginning of the new DREAM centre in Usa River (Arusha) as the first stone was officially laid by the Italian Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Adolfo Urso.
Three flags fluttered in the breeze on the football pitch where the garden pavilions had been put up for the occasion: the dove of the community of Saint Egidio, and the flags of Italy and the Republic of Tanzania.
The event also marked the inauguration of the molecular biology laboratory and the telemedicine service which will link the health centre to Saint John’s Hospital in Rome.
During the ceremony, two patients of the DREAM project, Liston and Loveness, told their stories, bearing witness to the importance of the treatment they received at the centre.
Loveness is 11 years old and has lived with her aunt since being orphaned four years ago. She has been attending the centre for the last year where she receives both antiretroviral drugs and alimentary supplements.
Today she is a serene child and those present were particularly touched by her testimony. Her courage and hope for the future made a lasting impression.
“I want to study very hard so I can become a lawyer when I grow up. Then I will be able to defend the rights of children and mothers. I would like to get married and, if I am blessed by God, to have two children”.
During his speech at the closing ceremony, the Deputy Minister, Hon. Urso, committed himself to helping her to realize her dream.
Liston, on the other hand, recounted how the DREAM centre helped him not to lose hope, even after the death of his first wife.
Today he is a DREAM activist and he invites other patients to transmit the same spirit of support to those who are worse off, by going to visit them and by encouraging them to take their medication regularly.