Secretary Clinton Visits Local Hospital In Kinshasa
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, funded and named in honor of former pro basketball star, Dikembe Mutombo’s, mother. Mutombo gave Secretary Clinton a tour and then they made the following remarks:
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very honored to be at this hospital which is such a place of hope and healing, particularly with its emphasis on mothers and babies, which is very close to my heart. Dikembe built this in honor of his mother, who I had the privilege of meeting in the White House in 1994.
MR. MUTOMBO: Four, yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And so for me it’s like coming full circle, having met his mother and knowing how much she inspired and supported him, and now he has taken his extraordinary success as a professional basketball player and has one of the biggest foundations in Africa, working not only here in his home country, but around the continent to help provide services to people. And it’s a great tribute to his mother and to the values that she raised him with.
MR. MUTOMBO: Thank you, Madame Secretary. For me, all I will say is that we are honored to have Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit us here. You know, this hospital was such a dream, and today becoming a reality and serving the community of more than 3 million people. And we are trying to save as many lives as we can. In all, we think that Congolese people deserve better health care, and we hope that what we are doing here, we’re just setting an example so that people can have hope and so that their future is more close to them, that there are people there in America, at least somewhere else, who are thinking about them.
Thank you, guys.
There was no finger wagging Monday when former pro basketball star Dikembe Mutombo guided U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton through a hospital he founded in his native Congo.
Instead of offering up the gesture that was his trademark over 18 seasons of blocking shots in NBA games, the soft-spoken Mutombo smiled playfully at infants in a maternity ward and explained why he donated $19 million of his own money to fund the Kinshasa facility named for his late mother.
“This hospital was such a dream and today it is becoming a reality and so important to so many people,” the 42-year-old Congo native said. “We think that Congolese people deserve better health care and we hope that what we are doing here is setting an example so that people can have hope.”
Dwarfed by the 7-foot-2 Mutombo, Clinton was clearly impressed by the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, which opened in December 2007. She recalled having met Mutombo’s mother in 1994 when the basketball star visited the White House while she was first lady.
“For me, it’s like coming full circle having met his mother and knowing how much she inspired and supported him,” she said. “Now he has taken his extraordinary success as a basketball player and has one of the biggest foundations in Africa, working not only here in his home country but around the continent to help provide services to people.”
“It’s a great tribute to his mother and to the values she raised him with,” Clinton said.
Later, at a town hall meeting with students at a Kinshasa college, Mutombo said he had been moved to build the hospital after his mother, who lived just outside the Congolese capital, died in 1998 because a curfew kept her from getting to a hospital in the city…