Alyssa, Jason, and I have returned from an insightful trip to Burundi. We had a fantastic week at Kibuye Hospital! We all came home very excited about living there in the future. Here are some of the things we learned:
1. The medical students at Kibuye are a fun group of bright, eager students. The entire class of 16 is currently at Kibuye Hospital for clinical rotations through Hope Africa University’s medical school. The students asked good questions, worked hard, and soaked up everything that Jason and Alyssa taught. We really look forward to teaching these enthusiastic medical students.
2. Language learning will be crucial for both French and Kirundi. French prevails for the medical charting, the morning report, and the hospital business/administration. Kirundi is the only language that most of the patients speak. Last week showed us that we need to be proficient in both. Language acquisition will certainly be an on-going prayer request for the McCropder team.
3. The hospital has various basic needs for things like water, oxygen, internet, meds, and lab tests. The running water has worked in the past but is currently non-functional. There is no oxygen available on the wards. The lab specializes in malaria smears, but it offers no white blood cell counts, no electrolytes, no cerebrospinal fluid cell counts, no coagulation studies, no kidney function tests. The pharmacy shelves looked a little bare as well. We pray for these hospital needs to be met soon.
4. It is possible to operate with the available resources. Jason did about 10 operations there last week, including a prostatectomy, an ex-lap for a gunshot wound, a hernia repair, a few C-sections, and a contracture release. His creative improvising skills came in handy several times because of the limited selection of supplies, sutures, medications, and anesthesia options. Each case was done with ketamine. Jason thrives with those sorts of challenges. He used a needle instead of k-wires, for example, in the contracture release.
5. We are grateful for the supportive and wise leadership of Bishop Buconyori. He seems as excited as we are about having our team move to Kibuye. He has done amazing things already through Hope Africa University and we look forward to working with him.
6. The land of Burundi is extremely beautiful, and Kibuye is in the middle of many miles of rural farming land. Most buildings are constructed of locally-made bricks. No grocery store can be found within a half-hour drive, but Kibuye does have countless banana trees, avocado trees, and small gardens. The land pictured below is the site of our future houses, we hope.
If you would like to observe the beauty of Burundi yourself, we would love to have visitors after we arrive, which will hopefully be in the fall of 2013.