Friday was another day at CHUK Hospital in Kigali and the team was able to fix a few more items! Jamie and I were able to make an incubator alarm work by replacing the battery pack and taping a bottle cap to the alarm for added pressure. Later that day we went to see a movie and of course in the middle of it the lights went out for about 10 minutes. That’s when we like to say, “TIA, This is Africa!” Many events such as this happen and you just have to laugh about it. Friday night we went to a few clubs with some local friends and had a blast! The Rwandans are crazy in the sense that they will start going out around 10 or 11 pm and stay out until 8 am! We had to call it a night at 2 pm like the Muzungus that we are.
Saturday we spent the day by walking all around Kigali to Meze Fresh (the Chipotle of Rwanda), going to an incredibly large market, and then later that night attending a birthday party.
Sunday the group headed out to the Milles Collines Hotel (from Hotel Rwanda). We had lunch and sat by the pool for the majority of the day. It was awesome to relax and hangout before going to our regional hospitals one last time.
Monday we had off from classes so some of the girls and I decided to get our hair in all braids! I did not get mine done on Monday, but on Tuesday after class. Monday morning, however, we went to ABC, African Bagel Coop for breakfast and it was SO GOOD! I love finding these little places to eat around Rwanda and supporting their efforts. The hair braiding took a total of 20 hours for the 3 of us! It is SO worth it, however, because now I don’t have to wash my hair as often (which is truly a pain here). I may have to take it out after a week or so, however, because my scalp is always hurting from all the weight! We’ll see though : )
Wednesday night was the last night with out host family, and what did they want me to do? Kill a chicken for dinner… I tried my best but I COULD NOT get the knife to the neck of that poor animal so I truly didn’t do the murdering of the chicken, but I did do all of the other preparations. After the head is cut off, the blood is drained. Then the chicken is put in boiling water in order to pick all of the feathers off. After that, it’s just like cutting any other chicken that still has bones and guts in it. It was quite the experience. I also present my host mom with her gift, which was a cute little candy dish/bowl, some tea towels and washcloths, candy, and a dictionary. She was very, very excited!
Thursday morning was departure time! Astride and I were off to Butare and the others were off to their regional hospitals! It only took about 2 hours to get to Butare from Kigali, so we arrived at our new host family’s home in no time! My host dad’s name is Emanuel and my host mother is Celine. They have a baby boy of 3 months whose name is Darlin. They are such a sweet couple and LOVE their baby, which is awesome to see. Emanuel works at the hospital as a technician and Celine is a nurse in the ICU! So every morning we are going to get a ride with them into work. The walk isn’t too bad, however, about 2 km. On Thursday Astride and I walked all around Butare exploring, we even stopped at the hospital to check it out. On our way there, we stopped by the University of Butare, and what do you know, but about 20 monkeys were just hanging out by the entrance! It was hysterical!! We also stopped at Inzozi Nziza, a start up company that serves really good ice cream amongst other little things to snack on! I think Astride and I will be frequenting there quite often.
Yesterday was our first full day of work. I was ready by 6:30 am for breakfast and we left around 7:10 am even though both Celine and Emanuel said they start work at 7 am (TIA). There was supposed to be a team meeting for the technicians that never happened (TIA) so we sort of started getting our hands on some equipment. Then about 40 minutes later, Emanuel told us that there was an event going on as a Genocide Memorial, which would last for 2 hours (actually 5 hours) and that after was mandatory exercise for the employees (seriously, TIA). So Astride and I attended the memorial for a few hours, went to get lunch, and then got started on inventory. This is going to be the first and probably most useful task we can do for the hospital. The director of the Butare hospital was recently fired and a new one set in place, only about 3 weeks ago. When we met with him, he said we were the answer to all of his questions. Hearing that made me feel incredibly motivated to get my hands dirty and help the hospital as much as possible! Another task we are encouraged to do is to create a plan to organize the technicians’ shops. This is going to be hard work, especially because their workroom is across the hospital from their storage room. I think that with a little push, however, all will be happy about a change and improving their workspace.
All in all I am very excited about the next four weeks! I think that we will be able to accomplish great tasks and truly improve the state of the hospital!