Well, my title for today is probably a bit too strong. I mean, actually, I am having a phenomenal time. I REALLY feel at home here. I keep smiling because I feel so good.
But . . . How can it be that almost everyone here has a cell phone but there is only one doctor for every 48,000 people? Why are the roads in Kigali so immaculate, but there is only one ambulance for every 300 people who need immediate transport to the hospital? Why is it that the people are so nice, that there is virtually no crime here, but the drinking water is suspect?
We visited Kibagabaga Hospital for the first time. Lots to mention . . . Many patient rooms were shared by multitudes of people. Some rooms had two per bed. We walked in on a surgery. The guy’s leg was wide open (he had been in a motorcycle accident). His X-Ray was negative for broken bones, but he had a serious gaping wound. The doctor was cutting away excess sinew.
Saw a few burn survivors. Candles light up the mosquito nets pretty quickly.
Saw a few women in labor (they birth 15 new babies per day at Kibagabaga Hospital). Fell in love with a few babies. Hundreds of people staring at us (was it because we are white or was there wishful thinking in their eyes?). We breezed right on in to neonatal intensive care and watched mothers nursing their 2 and 3 pound babies.
We kept moving past them like they were all pieces of art in a gallery, just there for us to look at – not to interact with. Seemed a bit dehumanizing, like we were looking at animals in a zoo. They had no where else to go, no way to get the help they needed. The only thing they could do was be patient and hope for the best.
The oxymoronic thing here was that the building was, by Rwandan standards, state of the art and only a few years old.
I finally noticed how many adults have strange scars on their heads. Most are the results of surving the genocide of 1994. I refrained from taking pictures of these. Just know that it was clear some people had once had axes or machetes in their skulls and survived.
I have been given my assignment, which as far as I can tell, was tailor made for me. However, I will keep it to myself until I see how it unfolds.
We are supposed to be up "doing rounds" by 7am, back to the hotel for media coverage at 10am. We will probably have to skip breakfast.
Everyone here wears the same cologne. It’s called DEET.
One last little note . . . I really miss my kids, my friends, and my coworkers.
Check out our official, more sanitized blog: www.ujama1.blogspot.com.
I love you all,