Joshua Achalam Kenya 2
Joshua Achalam is going for a long walk for a good cause.
He’s making a trek across sub-Saharan Africa to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic there, and to raise money for a program that helps children left orphaned by the epidemic.
He needs your help for his efforts, as he tries to raise $10,000.
The Richmond reggae musician, who’s better known as Mighty Joshua, is undertaking a proper walk, “a trek of many miles over many days with an uncertain outcome,” according to Makindu Children’s Program, the nonprofit that stages the walk as its major fundraiser. Makindu operates an AIDS orphans center, and provides comprehensive services including health, education, food advocacy and family support.
The trek will be in a portion of the Great Rift Valley. The math for this journey is interesting:
- Achalam is covering 120 to 140 miles of northern Kenya.
- His companions include 10 Americans and 10 Kenyans.
- They’re walking for 10 days.
- Each needs to raise at least $10,000, and the overall goal is $100,000.
- And they’re accompanied by 23 camels.
Achalam, in an email, describes the trek as “an adventure for a cause.” He’d wanted to travel to Africa since childhood, and this program was a “great opportunity to go to Africa as a a non-tourist with a cause.”
“To have the chance to walk though land where a black American has never been witnessed by the people native to the land was mind blowing to me,” he says. “Civilizations that have lived, thrived for hundreds of years, the Pokot, Massai, Turkana people, to share a space with these warriors, to see the true Africa and not what has been mis-taught for so long.”
He’s helped raise money for Makindu for a decade, including performances with his band, Mighty Joshua and The Zion #5. They have a benefit set for July 16 at the Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland in support of a release of a beer, Coconut Delight.
This is the eighth proper walk and the walks have raised more than $600,000 for the program. This is Achalam’s second trek: He had undertaken a proper walk in 2010.
Mighty Joshua Kenya 1
That excursion left lasting impressions on him of the beauty of the country, especially seeing lions, hippopotamuses and elephants in their natural environment. Getting up close and personal with camels was also eye-opening: Achalam said he came to realize that they were truly part of the team, and that they each had distinctive personalities.
It was a physical and mental challenge, but spending some time with the children at the Makindu Center kept them focused on the cause.
It’s a dangerous trip, and not just because of conditions and wildlife; there’s also the possibility of encounters with bandits in the bush. No worries, though, for Achalam: “I truly feel when you do something with a pure heart, and good intentions that nothing can stop you,” he says.
A Community Approach to Acupuncture
Southside Acupuncture interior
A community acupuncture clinic has opened south of the James.
The business, Southside Community Acupuncture, at 8730 Stony Point Parkway, No. 270, is operated by Sean and Erica Honea. They say they try to keep costs low and use a group treatment model. You’re seated in a zero gravity chair and treated individually, but you’re in the same room with other patients. The Honeas compare it with yoga or an exercise class.
Sean Honea says they want to make their services affordable to students, veterans and others from the middle and lower classes. They charge a fee of $25 per visit and also a $15 one-time intake fee to cover costs of paperwork.
“We decided on the group-style treatments because its high volume and low fee model allows us to provide a service more people can afford when they need it,” he says in an email.
He’s a U.S. Army veteran who says that he and his wife came to acupuncture out of their own health concerns. He says he had gained 50 pounds after leaving the service, stressed-out and suffering from ailments including repetitive stress injuries in his wrists and ankle sprains. He tried physical therapy and dietary changes to no avail, then he walked into an acupuncture clinic in Berkeley, California. After several months of acupuncture and of Qi Gong, a movement therapy, he says, he experienced improvements in his well-being and in his joints. He left a traditional graduate school program and went to acupuncture school instead.
Cost control is a concern because of the number of treatments generally needed, and because few insurance plans cover the service in Virginia, says Honea. He says a regimen of six to eight acupuncture treatments is needed in dealing with “acute or pressing” conditions. He says it can take a month of treatments for every year you have suffered with a chronic problem.
A roundup of health and medicine news of the week
- Underserved Richmond residents will gain access to free mental and behavioral health services through a $1 million, three-year federal grant through Virginia Commonwealth University. The grant will pay for training for doctoral students in clinical and counseling psychology and in placing them in clinical settings, according to VCU. It’s through the VCU Primary Care Psychology Training Network and will result in more than 15,000 free treatment sessions over the course of the grant. Services are currently provided at Health Brigade (formerly Fan Free Clinic), VCU Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Resident Clinic, Virginia Coordinated Care Complex Care Clinic and Daily Planet. The grant will expand services to the Southside Community Health Center of the Daily Planet, the safety net pediatric clinic at the Children’s Hospital at VCU and the Hayes E. Willis Family Medicine Clinic at VCU. Bruce Rybarczyk of the Department of Psychology is the project director.
- A $500,000 grant will help the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services to consolidate its programs in one new facility. The grant is from the Harrison Foundation, and is in support of the clinic’s campaign to build a central facility to provide services including medical and dental clinics, a food pantry and a clothes closet. The clinic wants to build a 20,000-square-foot facility at 3001 River Road West, the current site of Family Services offices. The campaign goal is to raise $5.85 million, including a $1 million endowment for the building, set to open in 2018. Lisa Luck is the campaign chair. The current building will be transformed into emergency housing. The Goochland clinic operates from three locations currently and helped more than 1,700 people in need in 2015.
- VCU Health is losing John Duval, its CEO of VCU Hospitals and Clinics and vice president for clinical affairs, to retirement. Duval is a 13-year veteran with VCU Health. His retirement is effective Sept. 30, but he will serve in an advisory role during the state legislative season, through March 17.
- The Fan Free Clinic has changed its name to Health Brigade. The updated website says the new name reflects how the clinic is like a bucket brigade, a
chain of people helping people. “Health Brigade is a name that honors our legacy and better recognizes the growing array of medical, mental health, community outreach and care coordination services we provide to those least served in our community,” said Karen Legato, executive director. “We believe everyone deserves access to quality care.”
- A combination of drugs in a trial testing at VCU Massey Cancer Center has proved effective in slowing tumor growth.
- If you want to protect your child against flu, you need to get them a shot vaccine instead of using the nasal spray flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported that the nasal spray was largely ineffective.