“Hello? Are we together?” Together, we honor Alfred
Our DefeatDD team is heartbroken by the passing of our friend, colleague, and child health champion, Alfred Ochola.
If you have followed us for a while, chances are you’ve met him virtually as he guided you through his lifesaving work in Kenya; presented alongside Mandy Moore on Capitol Hill; or inspired you to join the child health cause.
You may have seen him ask the question, “Hello? Are we together?”, his attention-grabbing turn of phrase to ensure full participation.
DefeatDD won’t be the same without him. But we are, and always will be, together in spirit. Here we share a few words of remembrance.
“It is near impossible for words to capture the joy, energy, and enthusiasm that Alfred embodied. I had the great privilege of being his sherpa when he came to Washington, DC, for meetings with members of Congress. It is not usually jolly to go to a dozen congressional meetings in one day, but it was with Alfred. He was passionate about his message for the staffers, he was tickled to be partnered with Mandy Moore, he was enthralled with being in the Capitol buildings. At each meeting, he quietly told a story about his work in Kenya, and his face would light up as he described communities where he worked. I watched each time as his listeners really heard him, how their usual habit of rushing through a meeting was quieted as they connected with his warmth and his exuberance. As someone who has spent a fair bit of time in those type of meetings, what I saw was remarkable. While this just a sliver of how Alfred touched those who encountered him, it exemplifies for me how he led with his heart and that opened hearts and minds everywhere he worked.” – Eileen
“When I was first introduced to Alfred, I was told he was so passionate about saving children’s lives from diarrhea that his nickname was “Dr. Stop Diarrhea.” I’ll always think of him that way, and with a smile. While I never had the chance to meet Alfred in person, I was always so inspired by his passion for his job and his warm, energetic demeanor – which was evident even over email and on the phone. Thank you, Alfred, for your lifesaving, lasting contributions to improving child health in Kenya and around the world. The world is a far better place because you were in it.” – Laura
“In work and in life, it’s all too easy to get pulled away from the things that really matter. But this was never true of Alfred. He served others, especially children, with conviction and with joy. Five minutes in his company could soften the most jaded audience and rekindle the inspiration behind why we do what we do. He made the world better, and I aspire to be more like him.” – Hope
Five minutes in his company could soften the most jaded audience and rekindle the inspiration behind why we do what we do.
“Alfred, thank you for being a true champion.
a champion for children
a champion for kindness
a champion for sudden and unexpected laughter.
You were never afraid to direct a crowd, or to command a room.
Your comfort level in your own skin, no matter where you found yourself:
a water point in a village in Western Kenya
a busy, dusty restaurant in Kisumu
a carpeted conference room in the US Capitol building
Maybe that’s because you understood what it takes to make a difference in this world:
that true change is sparked by a connection with people
no matter who they are or where they’re walking from
That telling stories is the easy, meandering way to a human heart
I miss your mischievous sense of humor
Your easy smile
I carry them with me
And will try to honor you by passing them on.” – Janie
“I only met Alfred once, many years ago at the PATH offices in Washington, DC, but I clearly remember his infectious smile and energy. I learned about his work in Kenya through DefeatDD’s work with him, and I was so inspired by his steadfast optimism and passion for improving children’s health. He was a stalwart advocate in the fight against diarrheal disease, and I’m so glad that we were able to capture some of his enthusiasm for this cause on video so it can continue to inspire others for years to come!” - Allison