Chesterman Memorial Clinic breaks ground in Africa

A construction crew works on building the Kristina Chesterman Memorial Clinic in Nigeria, Africa. Chesterman, a Chico State student who dies in September 2013, always wanted to help and provide care for people in need in Africa. Photo courtesy of Darcy Hostetter-Lewis.

Construction has begun on a medical center in Nigeria to honor deceased student Kristina Chesterman, a Chico State nursing student who was struck and killed in a hit-and-run in September 2013.

The clinic, which is being paid for by a group of Chico State students and professors, is intended to serve women, children and people with diabetes.

The idea to create a clinic originated from Kristina’s own desire to help people in Africa. However, it was nursing professor Darcy Hostetter-Lewis who proposed the idea of opening a clinic shortly following Chesterman’s memorial service.

“One of the things that was spoken of quite a bit at her memorial service was that she wanted to go to Africa and offer care to people who were medically underserved,” Hostetter-Lewis said. “So I approached the students and said, ‘How would you guys like to do something in Kristina’s name?'”

Since that September, the group has collected almost $50,000 towards the clinic through numerous fundraising events. Though the total construction is expected to cost $80,000 to $100,000, Hostetter-Lewis is confident that it will be open for business by the end of this year.

“The plan is to have the clinic constructed and ready for inauguration this December,” she said.

While Hostetter-Lewis has been handling the planning and organizational aspects of the group, the students have been working to raise money for the project.

For graduating nursing major Kayla Kriech, finally seeing some kind of progress on construction has made all of the work worth it.

“It’s incredible to see pictures,” she said. “We can’t be in Nigeria to watch the clinic go up or meet the workers who are building it, so it’s incredible to get an email with 20 pictures. Its nice to know that all our fundraising and hard work is paying off, and we can see progress.”

Kriech, along with seven other students, has been involved with the group since its inception. Other students have joined and contributed throughout the years as well.

The Kristina Chesterman Memorial Clinic is being constructed as a sister clinic to the Upon This Rock Medical Center, which was built in 2012 by James Umekwe. Umekwe has been working with the Chesterman group as well, according to Hostetter-Lewis, and donated the land that the clinic is being built on.

The next fundraiser for the clinic is planned for in September.

Joe Silva can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.