Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Opening Ceremony 2/21/15


Dearest Ladies, Gentlemen, Brothers, Sisters, Friends & Honorable Guests. Good Afternoon!

On behalf of Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo, NY, it is a privilege and an honor to share this moment with you today. The opening of Adama Martha Memorial Community Health Center marks the culmination of tireless efforts by many whom have come before me, and a new beginning for the people who live here in Kono. It has been the dream of several visionaries to make this a reality. Phebian is our sister from Buffalo who is here to carry the flag.

I would be so wrong if I mentioned only a few names within this speech, as this effort is so much more than that. The dedication of the team in Buffalo that has helped make this happen is beyond words. It was Phebian's dream, but we made it our mission. Numerous people on the team have given generously of their time, effort, and money for this project. The support is immense. And I want each and every one of you to know that the Jericho Road family is 200 strong and is here for you until the end. And guess what, this is only the beginning. 

On the ground here in Sierra Leone, we have had many dedicated patrons. Several of you are here today. As the saying goes, "Rome was not built in a day." This place did not build itself. The success today was not without hurdles. Most of you know of the many obstacles that we faced, and what strength it took to overcome them. The bricks were not laid by the faint of heart. It took passion, love, determination, and a true pioneer to be a part of this process. and for that I am very thankful to each one of you today.

I love to tell stories and in closing, I am going to share one with you today. This is the story of the Good Samaritan. According to the Gospel of Luke (10:29-37), a traveler (who may or may not have been a Jew) is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead along the side of the road. First a Priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by. Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man. Jesus is described as telling the parable in response to the question regarding the identity of the "neighbor" who should be loved. In the Bible, these events are described as taking place none other than on Jericho Road. 

When Dr. Myron Glick started Jericho Road Family Practice in Buffalo about 18 years ago, he took this concept of 'loving your neighbor' seriously. This has been the philosophy on which we operate, to serve the least of the least, the marginalized and the most needy. To us at Jericho Road, you the people of Kono district, are our neighbors, and we are here to love you. 

Thank you to each and every one of you. Have a blessed day. 

Speech written and given by Dr. Rohith Saravanan at the Grand Opening Ceremony on 2/21/15.

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