Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday, 9/30/12

We saw the full moon once again on Friday, 9/28. When we flew from Chicago to Rwanda, the full moon came with us. It's a pleasant marker of our time here. Two moons.

This entry is full of photos and items of interest. On Thursday and Friday, 9/27-28, Jerome and I struck out to visit some health centers where our students and clinical faculty are doing clinical work. Jerome had rented a four-wheel vehicle. We drove about one mile down the road from Byumba and took off on a two-lane dirt road. For over two hours of driving time, my poor body was bounced and jerked every which-way. Soon after we were on two-lanes the road quickly became one-lane and remained that way till we returned. So, imagine, we were on one lane with vehicles coming the other way and all sorts of people walking, or biking, or pushing bikes on the road. Somehow, we all got past each other. Jerome is fond of giving rides to people: we picked up and dropped off about 7 people along the way from a brother and sister going back to school after lunch to an elderly gentleman trying to get to his village. All the children try to get rides; the universal sign for hitchhiking here is just an outstretched, waving hand.
    This gentleman agreed to a photo. If the roads are really steep, people put their loads onto a bicycle and just push the bicycle along instead of riding it. I can't tell what he is carrying. Potatoes are a dead giveaway. This bag may contain food for cows.
 The first set of photos are those I took along the way to the first health center. A health center here is very much like a neighborhood community health center in the U.S. with the addition of a small hospital in which women can give birth. The local women who have normal pregnancies are encouraged to come to the center to have their babies. Since they do not have health insurance, they all do come to the health center. If they have complications, they are swiftly transferred to a district hospital (like ours in Byumba). After the birth they must stay for three days postpartum to make sure they are well. (I know women in the U.S. who would think three days was luxurious!) Anyway, the road to the health center basically wound up and down the mountains that have all the terracing. None of these photos really does the scenery justice, but I was able to get up closer to the terracing than I had been before.


 This photo is about as close as I got to a little terraced farm. You can see two buildings toward the left and if you enlarge the photo you'll see a man in a white hat working in his "field".

In most cases the terracing goes from the top of the mountain right down to the very bottom. Some of the terracing just holds the soil in place. The remainder really creates flat beds in which to grow crops. In some of these photos you may spot some houses where people live. As we were driving along the dirt road, every once in a while I would spot a little break in the growth at the side of the road. Going down from that opening would be a steep path leading to a house with maybe a shed for animals and the farmer's own growing area.


We were given a grand welcome when we arrive at the first health center. Our students and faculty were there. I cannot place the photo here of kids that were at the health center. We cannot show any faces in our photos of happenings at the hospitals or health centers. We have to protect their privacy.

 And here is a photo I've been trying to capture; a mother with her baby tied onto her back. She also gave permission. They just use a long piece of cloth, it seems most anything will do. They make sure the baby's bottom is well supported in the back with the cloth, then tuck the ends of the cloth into the front of their clothing. The babies mostly sleep back there. When they are hungry they cry and the mother stops wherever she is and nurses the baby. The women carry the babies until they are well into toddlerhood. Sometimes it is funny to walk toward a woman head-on and see a good sized pair of tennis shoes sticking out at her sides! If it is a bright, sunny day they carry an umbrella to protect the baby or wrap a piece of white cloth on top of the baby. If it is a newborn, they seem to carry the baby in the front of their dress.







The above three photos are all I can post of one of the main activities for the day. This student is shaving the head of the little boy. It is common practice when children are heavily infested with lice. So they got a shave, haircut, and a good head scrub (but no two bits).

The other activity I enjoyed watching was one of the twice weekly servings of "porridge" to any child who came to the Health Center. I do not know what kind of grain they used. A woman cooked it over a wood stove and made it fairly thin so they could drink it easily. Then the health workers passed out cups which were quickly filled and emptied! These children were really hungry and no one complained that they "didn't like it!"

I received a response to my blog today from HARERIMANA Alexis  who was writing from South Africa where she is studying. She didn't tell me how she got the link to the blog. She used to work here at the Byumba School of Nursing and Midwifery. She said my blog reminds her of "the good old days" here in Byumba. I hope to correspond further with her as she said she will return here soon.

I cannot believe the blog is being read by someone in South Africa! Where will it go next????

This coming week will be interesting. Tomorrow I'll go back to Kigali for more Health Center interviews. I'll be at home Tues. and Wed. as Jerome must go to meetings. Then, Thurs. and Friday we'll be going to some sites quite a bit further away. I am trying to be very careful at the sites since the steps and footing are always a challenge. And at one setting last week we arrived just as there was a huge rainstorm. I always ask for help when I am unsure of the terrain. Some friends took me out to a very well-known restaurant in Kigali on Friday night. The car was a good way out in the parking area and it was quite dark. A young man appeared just as I was getting out of the car, took my hand, and guided me the entire way into the restaurant. Very nice attention for the old lady!!!

I'd better go. I don't think it will be too long before I can blog again, esp. since I'll be back here mid-week. And in Kigali tomorrow we won't have to drive on those bone-jarring roads!

I miss everyone of you, but I am not pining away for the U.S. There is so much to do here.
CA













Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Rwandan baby is given two names: First, a Kinyarwandan name, second a French name (usually, though sometimes an English name). There is no such thing as a "surname" connecting family members together.

On another note, one day I will once again enjoy having toilet paper that actually has perforations where one can tear a piece off. Currently, I have toilet paper that may or may not have any perforations. Even if it is perforated, it always shreds!!!  Ah, well.......

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Evening of Sept. 26, 2012

I want to pass along to you something Jerome told me the other day. My angst at the bank plays right into this.

"Americans have watches; Africans have time."

In my one year here, I doubt I'll learn to be on African time. I'm getting a little more used to it and am learning to expect it, but anything else is pretty far fetched for me.

CA
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No photos today! Just text. I have had a busy week since I last posted. Last Friday I had a group of visitors from Kigali: Jeff Williams, Brandi, his wife, Garet, his son, and Baby, their dog; also Tina Anselmi, a midwife who is on our UIC team (we first met in the airport in Amsterdam) and Lida, an ICU specialist. All these folks work at the same hospital in Kigali. Serving tea to that many people took all my mugs! They were interested in seeing life in Byumba and they were not disappointed. After a tour of the school we took a quick trip to the hospital. Then out to lunch at the restaurant in the Anglican mission. (I only know two places to eat out in Byumba: the Anglican mission and the hotel. Each is about equidistant from the roadway into the school, one to the right and one to the left.) After lunch, Lida and Tina left to take the Stella bus back to Kigali. The Stella buses are infamous for the number of people they can pack into one vehicle and for the two-wheel turns they make as they come down the mountains! I think Tina got a few grey hairs from the ride, but they were in Kigali in no time. It was on a Stella bus that I got so sick earlier.

Jeff and family stayed overnight here. Early in the afternoon Miriam learned that her Grandfather had been involved in an accident and was in Jeff's hospital in Kigali with a broken leg. She asked to leave so she could go be with him. I was on my own with my company! We went to the hotel for a late supper (after naps!) After breakfast we headed back to Kigali where I needed to do some banking before the banks closed at noon (Saturday). Similar to other times at the Access bank, it took me over an hour to withdraw money and for them to begin to try to find the VISA card they had texted me about weeks ago (that it was ready for pick up). I think my blood pressure goes up at least 50 points every time I walk in that place! So many inefficiencies you wouldn't believe. And they never did find my VISA! By the time I left I had spoken at length with the person in charge of the bank and she had promised me she would take care of me personally from now on. We will see!

I managed to do some shopping in Kigali, but never had time to get everything I needed. I've been wanting something like plain saltine crackers, but I'm beginning to think there isn't such a thing. I bought two boxes of what I thought might be they, but they turned out to be sweet. I did get sardines! And I purchased some meat at the German Butchery: one pork chop, one quarter chicken for soup, and some home made sausage. I'm told this is the best place to purchase meet in Kigali. The chicken was great. I put the other things in the freezer. I have not wanted Miriam to purchase meat for me. I'm just not sure where it comes from in Byumba.  I also bought Nutella which isn't all that hard to get, but not in Byumba.

Sunday I finally went to church with Jerome who was in Kigali for the weekend. We went to a church with about 700 people in attendance, for a two hour service. The first 40 minutes was all singing with guitars, drums and keyboards and lots of raising of hands. Then there were about 10 minutes of announcements. Finally, a sermon for a little over an hour. I've never been to a U.S. church where people would sit still for that long! Apparently, some services here are 4-5 hours long. Most churches are either charismatic Catholics or protestant Christians with a heavy dose of charismatic flavor. They believe strongly that Jesus is everything (hence the logos on the tops of vehicle windshields: "Jesus Loves", "Jesus has returned" on Jerome's Toyota).

I stayed with Jeff, et. al on Sat. and Sunday nights. We attended a big party on Sat. night at Tina-the-midwife's house. Mostly the attendees were people who had arrived in Rwanda early in August, so it was fun to see everyone who had scattered to their workplaces all over the country. 'Twas fun to see the kids, too. I usually had a better time with them than I did the adults! You know me, however. I get enough of a party in about an hour, then I want to retreat! And I was missing Byumba mightily. I learned over the weekend, that I much prefer my quiet, amoosing, rural home to Kigali. They knew what they were doing when they sent me here.

Jerome and I did not drive up to Byumba until early Monday AM. I felt as if I'd been gone for a week instead of just two days. We had a chance to talk business in the car, however, and we made a plan for some traveling which is my main subject of this blog entry. Please do not be alarmed if I am unable to make any entries, or at least only very brief ones, for approximately the next three weeks. We are going on tour with a car and driver to make site visits at all the hospitals and health centers where Byumba students have clinical placements. There are many, and mostly out in very rural areas. This means I will get to see a lot of Rwanda that I have not seen. My goal will be to observe and interview the students, their clinical instructors, and even some of the staff nurses at the hospital. I am trying to get a handle on what really goes on out there, especially with the instructors. Jerome hasn't even been to all these places since he took over as director here in 2009. Some of the time Rani, our midwife mentor, will go with us. When we are close to Kigali we will beg our friends for a roof, to save some money. There will be times when we will have to stay in some sort of hotels or inns. I haven't heard of any other Advisors like me doing this yet, but Jerome really wanted to and so did I.

What you must be aware of is that I will likely not have access to the internet a lot of the time. Maybe all of the time except in Kigali. I just do not know what to expect. There is a very strong link for us with the U.S. Embassy in Kigali and with the Office of International Affairs at UIC. They will contact Mike and Kate if anything untoward happens. I do not expect any problems at all. I'll be with people I know. I suppose I could send you an itinerary, but the names of the towns would not really mean anything to you. Our first trip tomorrow, 9/27, will just be a day trip. We may also make a day trip on Friday, 9/28. It is next week, (10/1) that we plan to start the real touring for longer distances and over-night stays and that may go on for two weeks. I am calling the Embassy as soon as I finish this to let them know what I will be doing (they request that we let them know about any travels).

Take care, everyone. I should have interesting things to report after this whirlwind tour.
Carrol

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

09/19/12  I have now been in Rwanda for seven weeks. I really cannot believe how quickly the time is going by!

This posting will be mostly photographs: These are for Don and Remy!

First a few pictures of my home:

 This is my front porch with the double doors my main entrance
 This is the back of my house. The two bigger windows are in my dining room, the smaller is in the kitchen. The red box with wires represents the work they have done to connect me to the school's generator so I'll have power when the main power goes out. The first attempt connected me directly to the school's power. Jerome was unhappy with that b/c the school was paying for my electricity. The second attempt happened this last Monday when they assured me I was connected to the generator. A two-hour power outage that came upon us later that evening proved that I was still not connected to the generator! I'm not sure if they have even worked on it again.  The white area on the ground is part of the white gravel walkway all around the house.
Not even sure what to call this; it is an attached workroom of sorts. This is where Miriam does the laundry and hangs it out to dry on some clothes lines inside of a more open area. Workmen go in and out of the brown door as they have been working on the hot water (which still is not running). The stacks (2) out in the green grass are over the septic system

Field of Beans

                                             This is my dining room with a plastic tablecloth.
 In the dining room is a hutch where all the dishes and cutlery are kept, as well as the refrigerator.
                                                           One view of the living room.
                                                          Second view of living room.
                                                               Kitchen sink
This is my precious Prestige water filter. You pour regular water in the top half and it filters over three ceramic "candles" inside the top part. Then the bacteria-free water flows into the bottom half. You can see the little spiggot down at the bottom where I draw out the clean water for drinking and for ice cubes.
  This is the only other piece of furniture in the kitchen. On it are cookware, carrots, beets, food storage containers, etc. Under the table are various buckets and tubs that Miriam uses for laundry. We just found out about the oven under our gas stovetop. We have four gas burners on which we can cook. The oven is actually electric! It plugs into the wall right next to our big gas tank. We have yet to use it. I'm not sure Miriam has ever actually used an oven. I may have to find some cake or brownies in a box so we can try them. Of course, in our altitude, we'll have to make adjustments. In general, it takes everything longer to boil or to cook here.

Enjoy!






Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sept. 13th, yet again.

Here's something that affects my day. When you in the midwest are going to bed, I am getting up. I get the most boring e-mails up until about 2PM my time when you are just beginning to get up to write e-mail. For several hours I get your notes along with a few more boring ones. I go to bed around 10PM, so I miss some of the missives you send later in your day. This is a description of one of the rhythms in my day.

I come to my office around 8:15A (when you are sleeping), and usually stay till a little after 5P. I go home for lunch. At around 10A and 2:30P, I take a short walk outdoors just to get the kinks out. There is always someone outside to speak to (guards, maintenance people, maybe a faculty person).  At 10A, I am often served tea in my office.  Sometimes also in the afternoon. On the Rwanda Mountain Tea box it states clearly that tea is best with milk and sugar. And the sugar is never white. It is large-grained and a nice light tan in color (from sugar cane).That is the way all Rwandans drink their tea. I believe also it is the way the Romans drank it. It is the way I drink it now. At someplaces they serve "African Tea" which means it's the same combination but already mixed together.


This group photo was taken only yesterday 09/12, when we had the e-learning visit.
People are: (left) Pandora Hardtman, Nursing Professional Issues and Standards, Gaspard, head of  IT at Byumba, Rani Kahn our new midwife to work at Byumba hospital, Jerome Bushumbusho, Director of the Byumba school, yours truly, Innocent, and Nadine Connor. These last two are helping to manage the e-learning group.
These folks brought gorgeous weather. Not one drop of rain fell and the sun shone almost all day! They can come back any time.

Below (or above, or around here somewhere) are photos of two of my favorite Rwandan items: Rwanda Mountain Tea which I call Gorilla Tea and Gorilla matches. The face of the gorilla on the tea box is so kind. The gorilla looks like a kind mother who could feed you lovely tea when you were feeling sad and you would feel better immediately. The Gorilla matches are so tiny as to be barely there; however, they work quite well. They are made of wax which you can feel when you lift one to strike it. There is just something endearing about that tiny box of matches which one would never find in the U.S. I will bring some home to share. (Or maybe they won't let them through. Who knows?)

Bedtime for me!! Good night. Don't work too hard in your afternoon.

Crested Gray Crane

d

Sept. 13, 2012

Decided to enter a few things while I think of them:

"Chicken men": I forgot a very colorful part of last week's market. A couple of guys passed us with live, squawking chickens tied to their bodies. Each man had at least six chickens, and I really believe more. They had some sort of thing tied to their arms and back to which they tied the feet of the chickens. I plan to get a photo of this, as it is hard to describe. Of course, the chickens are not just hanging there nicely awaiting purchase and slaughter. Their wings and their voices are not tied down and they are using them as hard as they can! Can you picture 12 chicken wings flapping more-or-less at once and six chicken voiceboxes protesting simultaneously? And the smell is quite strong! How do the men stand it?!!

A little delegation from Kigali came yesterday AM to learn how our special e-learning group is doing. We sat in on their class and each of the visitors made a speech. (All of the visitors were our HRH people, one a Rwandan who has been working with the e-learning group for some time and two from the U.S.) We had a good visit, then were just walking around the campus a little. I asked if they would like to see "my cows". Oh, they liked that idea. We walked toward the cow shed and I had just barely begun talking to the cows when the male started talking back! The more I made soothing cow noises, the more he bellowed. We all laughed and laughed. And that made both cows really go at it. I am learning what social creatures cows are! The cows were enclosed in their stalls or I believe that male would have come and jumped in my lap!! See photos at next entry.

We are truly having a very rainy season. One day I came home for lunch and while there I asked Miriam what the loud roar was--she really laughed at me. It was a real torrent of rain. I stayed home past my time to return as there was a lake around my house and I decided not to wade through it. I may have to get some rubber boots!  Because of all the rain, plants are sprouting all over my yard. And I have a fairly big yard! The most plentiful plants are beans!! Someone told me that there used to be a vegetable garden where my yard is, and there were lots of beans. Well, I can certainly see that!! Instead of "Field of Dreams" I have "Field of Beans"!! I'm just going to leave them right where they are, too. The surprise will be the kind of beans they are! My yard is becoming completely green with beans.

A few minutes ago I heard a bird singing very close by. I went outside my office and he was sitting right there in the walk way along the administrative offices. A lovely black and white bird. He began singing again and reminded me very much of a mockingbird, as he sang a whole variety of tunes. I have seen birds like that on the campus before, but never heard the wonderful songs. The administrators in our office told me the name of the bird in Kinyarwanda and said it is a very special bird. It likes to be around people and in Rwandan culture, if you kill this bird you will have very bad luck. I will start watching more closely for this bird. Maybe I can record its song for you sometime.

Don't forget to look at the next entry. I also posted a couple of photos of the grey crowned crane--the official bird of Rwanda. I took the photos just a couple of days after we got to Kigali. They have 2-3 of them on the grounds at the hotel where we ate breakfast every day.

It's raining again.



A visit to the cows.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

9/8/12

Quite a week with lots to tell!

I mentioned Rani Kahn's arrival in my entry of 9/4/12. She did arrive Wednesday night immediately prior to an hour-long power outage! Rani, Jerome, and I sat in my living room with flashlights trying to visit while Jerome got inundated with phone calls. (That's how every meeting with Jerome goes! Cell phone seems to be his preferred method of communication. He answers all calls and tries to dispatch the callers quickly) Just about the time the power finally came on, I could see that Rani was not going to last any longer! We got her back to her house where she slept for a long time. Rani is a midwife who will be mentoring the faculty and student midwives at our Byumba hospital and probably at some other hospitals as well.

My first week of work was quite busy and very rewarding. It appears that in Jerome's eyes I can do no wrong! I met the faculty in a meeting on the very first day. Jerome always introduces me as "Dr. Carrol"; nurses here are not used to thinking that someone can have a PhD in nursing, so they nearly always ask questions about this. 

On Tuesday, I asked if I could attend a class of the "e-learning" students. I actually joined in the discussion at the end of the class and decided I would like to present a small topic with the students. They were discussing things you could do if a patient were anxious or depressed related to a long hospital stay or worry about other matters. I piped up and said we should make them laugh!! The students were very unsure about laughter as a healing method. So, Monday morning at 8AM I will talk about the physiology of laughter and all the healing powers from that physiology. Mike (my son) helped me find a clip from a Marx Brothers film that will demonstrate the power of laughter in a group; I also found a great clip from you-tube showing a penguin being tickled and dissolving in fits of laughter; finally, I found a clip of a baby (maybe about 6 mos. old) going into gales of laughter when someone tears a piece of paper!  I think this will all provoke some discussion and help the students see that there may be creative ways to use themselves in healing. Jerome also reminded me that there were several years after the genocide when no one felt like laughing here, so I will include that in the discussion.

The Friday workshop I mentioned before went  very well. I had to tell Jerome he could not attend as I thought the faculty might not be as free with their comments if he were there. He was surprised, but agreed. The workshop was to discuss the gaps in the use of nursing process at our school and with nurses at the hospital. About 22 faculty attended. They really worked hard at identifying the gaps (or problems). Now they think they are ready to try to find some remedies. We will meet again next Friday AM to begin that work.

I must tell you about "Rwanda time". When Jerome sent out the notice about the workshop he told the attendees to come at 8AM. (The scheduled start time was 9AM). When I asked him about this he said he has to tell people 8AM so they will actually be here by 9AM! And then because of various interferences, our workshop did not even begin till 9:30AM! That seems to be about the way things go. No one but me gets exercised about the lateness! The first time Jerome was to pick me up in Kigali he told me to be ready by 8AM. I was ready and waiting outside the apartments for him to arrive in his car.--He didn't arrive until 9:30AM. I think I can adjust to this, but I never remember that this is commonplace. I keep expecting people to be "on time" then I realize they are not going to be and I'm frustrated. I need just to let go of that! It is definitely a cultural thing.

This morning (Saturday, 9/8) Jacqueline accompanied me to the town market in Byumba. We took a cab as I am cautioned against riding a moto-taxi. Many people were walking toward the market. Saturday is a big market day. Part of the market is under a big tin roof with stall after stall of goods. It is very dark inside the building unless one has a stall along the outer edge. There are also sellers who just spread their wares outside on the ground. I had told Jacqueline that I wanted to buy a couple of long-sleeved T-shirts and a sweatshirt. She had told me to expect only second hand garments. I found a t-shirt right away that said "Chicago Bears--2010 Conference Champions". I couldn't resist even though I rarely follow football. Then I found a sweatshirt that says "Trinity College--Dublin". That, too tickled me and they were both the right size. Almost everything in the way of Ts or sweatshirts has some logo on it. Jacqueline said no one here knows what the logos represent, they just buy them! I saw shirts like those in China with "made up" logos or names of colleges that are really funny. I also bought a blanket as I must dress the other two beds in my house before I can have company. Jacqueline did all the bargaining for me, thank goodness. After the dry goods, we walked to another section of the market for the food. It was pretty much like the open air market in Kigali only without the dried fish and the beans. I bought beets, passion fruit, green beans, and spinach. Again, Jackie haggled. I long to do that for myself, but my white skin marks me as a target immediately. Jackie said the woman initially asked twice as much for the beets as she should have, but since Jackie knew the right price she immediately said she would only pay the right price. The woman agreed to that right away. Finally, I was beginning to feel very claustrophobic in that dark place and I had to get out! I was satisfied with my purchases. The market is a swirl of people, lots of children clamoring to shake my hand. One little toddler wouldn't let go of my hand and his mother finally had to extricate him! And all the while trying to make sure my bag was not available to pickpockets. Sometimes I would look up and find a whole group of people staring at me. Sometimes that is a little unnerving.

I will have Miriam soak my blanket and shirts in soap and boiling water on Monday. Then I will be happy to wear them.

Speaking of Miriam, we had to have a little food "adjustment" this week. She started working here on Friday, August 31. That night she made dinner for me of a tomato sauce with very tough meat in it, and rice. We also had avocado. Then for several successive days we had the rice with tomato sauce. I thought I would let her take the lead but finally by Wednesday I'd had it! I told her I could not eat that dish another day. I'd had no vegetables and I needed some variety!! Miriam could not understand exactly what I wanted so we invited Jackie to be the cultural arbiter. I told her about the veggies I wanted (cabbage, green beans, carrots, green peppers, anything! in season), I decided I did not want her to select any meats (I can live w/out them), that I need some grains besides rice, that I want some dried beans, etc.  Miriam went to the market that afternoon and has since made me some very nice vegetable dishes. She still makes too much rice, but it keeps and I can eventually finish it. I am very glad I have Miriam here every day. We are just still getting to know each other's ways.

I am going to post this w/out the photos. The powere keeps cutting in and out and I am afraid I will lose this if I do not send it. I'll work on the photos later this evening.

Bye


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4, 2012, Byumba, Rwanda

Well, here goes for those of you who want to hear about my first two days of work. BTW, for those of you interested, I am part of the Rwanda HRH program. Even though the Clintons and others supplied the bulk of the money for this project, the money was actually given to the government of Rwanda to run the program. If you are interested in finding out about HRH go to <http://rwandahrhprogram.wikispaces.com/Home>

My work hours are 8A to 5P. At noon I get an hour break whereupon I walk across the yard for lunch at home, then return at 1P for the remainder of the day. There will be times when I go off site for observations or teaching, but the majority of my work will be right here and in our district hospital which is within a short walk from the school. Twice, one of my favorite people on the staff at the school (Jacqueline) has brought me a tea service and set me up for a little tea respite. I suggest we hire such a person for the UIC CON!

Yesterday seemed to be filled with meetings. Jerome wanted to introduce me to the faculty at a morning meeting. That was lovely. I made a little extemporaneous speech and got lots of positive feedback. This was followed by a small meeting of me, Jerome, and one faculty person, a very sharp Nigerian man. Oh, what I forgot to tell you about the faculty group is that the men handily outweigh the women in numbers. It seemed so strange to look out upon a sea of men's faces, with just a smattering of female faculty.

The main interesting activity of that meeting was Jerome's presentation about a large general fund in Rwanda to which all must contribute. The faculty discussed for a long time and finally decided that they would each contribute one month's salary to the fund. Can you imagine the Dean asking us to do that? Jerome and I had quite a discussion about it, how an employer in the U.S. cannot demand that employees contribute to anything. Jerome is prevailed upon from higher up the food chain to get support from every faculty member and to raise a certain amount of money.

In the afternoon, I sat in upon a meeting from 2-5P+. Both big meetings were difficult for me. Even though Jerome would start the meeting off in English, fairly quickly they would all be speaking French or Kinyarwanda. I understand that is the language in which most people still think and speak on an everyday basis, so when they wish to discuss, it is probably appropriate. However, there I was trying to figure out what was going on when all I could do was read body language! And another culture's body language at that! By 5PM I was completely worn out.

Today I was able to work more in my office. I was creating objectives and an agenda for a small workshop to take place on Friday AM this week. I had learned yesterday that the "e-learning" group of students was on campus from Mon-Wed. I asked if I could attend the class in the afternoon. All permissions were granted and Jerome took me to introduce me to the class. This is a group of 42 A-2 nurses who the government selected for this new e-learning section. These are all practicing nurses based on classes they took in high school. The gov't has prioritized the re-education of these nurses so they will ultimately have the education of three year, A-1 nurses. The teacher was good and the students are enthusiastic. It was really nice to see. Tomorrow I will meet privately with the teacher for a few moments to find out how he arrived at his teaching methods. He has to do a very delicate balancing act between acknowledging the experience these nurses have while also introducing very specific material to make sure they have exposure to the whole curriculum. After tomorrow, they will go off campus again, using their computers to meet in groups and with the teacher. I do not know how frequently they re-gather here. But when they come they are housed in one of our dormitories and special cooks are hired to feed them. The cooks prepare the food over outdoor wood burning stoves.

So, my work has begun. For a while I will be doing a lot of observing both at the school and in the clinical areas at the hospital. I am really interested in everything that goes on here. I know there are some big budget issues which Jerome will share with me.

Rani Kahn, a nurse midwife, finally flew in from the U.S. on Sunday and will be coming to inhabit the other house up here tomorrow. She will be a mentor for the midwifery students. I look forward to having another native English-speaker here, as well as a near neighbor!

Take care,
Carrol