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.
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.
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.