My trip to Burundi and Uganda was a smashing success. All of my travels went smoothly, no disabling diseases were acquired (at least not that I know of to date), and all of my meetings were fruitful. Hope Africa University (HAU) was found to be flourishing with enrollment now threatening to exceed 5,000 students.
Snazzy New Sign Out Front
The main purpose of my trip to Burundi was to draft the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HAU and World Harvest Mission. My meetings with the Rector of HAU, Bishop Elie Buconyori, were quite helpful in shaping the final language of the document. I did bring a small gift for the Bishop which bore a Maze block M (pictured below) to ward off the Spartan and Buckeye expatriates vying for the Bishop's good graces.
An MOU is like a contract that spells out things like mission, vision, core values, duration of partnership, authority structure, ownership and use of property, etc ... Lots of details with lots of room for disagreements, but God gave us all a wonderful spirit of unity on every matter.
I had a wonderful time re-uniting with Victor (pictured below), my personal translator from Tenwek Hospital, Kenya. He is now a first year medical student in Burundi at HAU! Click here to read more of his amazing story.
I was also able to take a quick day trip to Kibuye Hope Hospital where we will be living and working in central Burundi. Since we were last there, much has happened. Below are some much needed additions to the lab.
Thanks to a visit by a water engineer, running water is now flowing to the whole hospital again, including the OR scrub sinks pictured below. We also have word that the government has given permission for HAU to go ahead and drill for water on the hospital property, a major answer to prayer. The current supply is from a spring fed source that will not likely provide the massive amount of water needed to run a major teaching hospital that we pray Kibuye will be in five to ten years.
The fact that an open fire is being used to sterilize the OR instruments does remind us of the work and infrastructure development that still remains ahead.
Below is the beautiful building promised to me as the future eye unit's home. Other than the asbestos roofing, I couldn't be more excited for the potential this structure has.
Probably what the McCropders were most excited to hear about was the progress on our future home. Below is the booming construction being done on the quadraplex that we will all be living in once we arrive at Kibuye in 2013. We hope to later build individual dwellings and free-up the quadraplex to become a guesthouse. They are doing a beautiful job on the construction. Thanks to the Knox Docs in Ann Arbor and the Friends of HAU, funding for the project is nearly complete.
Back in Bujumbura at the main HAU campus, the Van Norman Clinic has just been dedicated. This "clinic" is more like a small hospital with two ORs and several large wards and private rooms. The craftsmanship is impressive throughout. We will likely hold occasional clinics here in addition to our work at Kibuye.
I also had the privilege of networking with most of the key eye care providers in Burundi. In fact, one day I was able to tag along with Dr. Paul Courtright to do a "field study" in a northern province of Burundi. Dr. Courtright is one of the leading researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa in the area of eye care and he "just happened" to be in the neighborhood while I was there.
Other adventures included scoping out the appliance and building material scenes to evaluate what is available in country and what might be a good idea to ship on the container Jason just bought for the McCropder crew.
Check out the commode on the top left row. This puppy puts you in the "lap of luxury" at just enough of a recline that you may never want to get up. American toilets don't stand a chance. On that note, I'll wrap up this report. More to come on the Ugandan adventures that followed the week in Burundi.