Starting with the beginning of last week, the first new thing I did was taking my braids out. Sad, I know, but they had to go! Far too tight and far too heavy. I was an African for about a week. That’s pretty good, right?
Later in the week I glued my very first official seal of approval on a fixed piece of equipment! We were able to fix an infant incubator by replacing the battery. A quick but very important fix. Incubators here are rare, so there are typically numerous babies per incubator. When we returned this specific one, they were able to move a newborn from a baby warmer to the incubator! It was awesome to see it being put to use the minute we returned it. Instant gratification.
I also started jogging regularly after work… up and down one of the many mountains of Rwanda. The pictures do not give it any justice, so let’s just say Montour’s cross country course has got NOTHING on the rolling hills of Rwanda. People driving by on motos or in trucks always honk and cheer me on, it’s awesome.
Last Friday I took my very first moto! We were advised not to take them, especially in Kigali, but man are they convenient. And fun too!! Anything beats being squished between many people with bags on a bus.
Saturday I went to Musanze with the whole group of students and we stayed with the group of three girls who are living there this month. It was SO much fun! It was awesome to get us all together in a big group again. So this was my first time in the Northern Province of Rwanda and my first time to see volcanoes. We did not actually go to hike the volcanoes, but you can see them from most parts of town in Musanze. I also had sugar cane and Ugandan Gin for the first time on Saturday. I tell you it is a very, very good thing sugar cane does not grow in the US…. All of that was for our dear Rwandan friend, Alex, who we threw a party for. He was so excited that we got him a cake that said “Murakoze Alex” or “Thank you Alex” because he has been such a great friend to us all. Don’t think we would have such great experiences in Rwanda without him!
Sunday I quiet literally traveled across the country in one day. From the Northern Province we went to Kigali and then from there back to Butare. About 5 hours total on a bus. I was so ready to be back in Butare after that ordeal! We made a quick (3 hour) pit stop in Kigali for some supplies that we needed to fix another incubator. We quite literally found a “Hardware Store” in which we had to go through multiple other stores, passing women sewing clothes and such, until we got to people who knew what we wanted. They seriously rigged these transformers to be the exact specifications we needed right in front of us. It was hysterical! And something I will NEVER experience anywhere else, I am sure of that.
Monday I fixed my first piece of equipment all on my own. This was exciting because the first thing I checked ended up being the problem. The machine is called a LensMeter and before opening it up I decided to check the fuses. Sure enough, they were missing?! Not sure how that happens, but all I had to do was replace them and it was working good as new : ) We also fixed two syringe pumps on Monday. The first we replaced the LED light that indicates when the battery is charging. The second was just a simple user error. The nurses in the ICU were very excited to get their syringe pumps back in good working order.
Yesterday I helped install an entire endoscope machine and was very interesting. Emanuel, our homestay host and fellow technician, loves to teach us the ins and outs of all the equipment. Being that he’s been a technician at CHUB for ten years, he was very wise words to say about all types of equipment. I am learning so much from him.
Today Astride and I moved every piece of equipment in storage from one room to another. Even the huge X-ray machine. It took us about three hours of non-stop work but we finally got it done! The new work space for the technicians is going to be awesome, I can’t wait to finish it!
This weekend the group is going to Gisenyi! I am very excited to travel to yet another new part of Rwanda. We will be near the Congo boarder, close enough you can see over into the country!
Love and miss everyone, but I never wanna leave Rwanda!!!