Yesterday marked 53 years of independence for the countries of Burundi and Rwanda from Belgium. Burundi remained a monarchy for the first four years of independence and then was declared a republic on Nov 28, 1966. A rocky history since then has been marked by coups d'état, assassinations, ethnic tension, and civil war. But life has been relatively peaceful for the last ten years, and, in our team's almost two years here, we've seen hope and courage in the faces of our Burundian students, colleagues, and patients even as they face African realities. Unfortunately, though, the last two months have been difficult for everyone as Burundi succumbs again to political tension and crisis. So it was a joy yesterday to see Burundians at Kibuye celebrating independence together - smiling and laughing and enjoying the day regardless of tribal or political affiliations. The future remains uncertain for this beautiful country, but we are thankful to be here and a part of this community even at such a time as this.
Jason with surgical interns
Aerial view of Kibuye - blue and red roofs in the center
Primary school boys practicing for their performance at the Independence Day festival
Primary school drummers in their uniforms on Independence Day
|"Independence" of two pediatric patients after long hospital stays! Cedric (above) recovered from meningitis and malaria.|
Pascal finally went home after 49 days in the hospital miraculously improved from severe acute malnutrition. We considered sending him home with palliative care at one point but then (thanks to Dr. Randy Bond and to Jason) we discovered he had a large congenital pancreatic cyst which was contributing to his severe malnutrition. After the operation he continued to be extremely sick with various complications, but last week he finally began improving. He started to shake our hands and take the therapeutic milk and Plumpy Nut (high calorie peanut butter). He stopped crying all the time and began to play. The students, nurses, and I were thrilled to see him finally recover and begin to act like a healthy three year old.
Both of the above patients come from extremely impoverished families and thus their bills were paid by the Needy Patient Fund. Thank you to all those who contribute to that!
Hospital staff enjoying the festive atmosphere of Independence Day
Secondary school drummers in patriotic costumes
Missionary kids enjoying Independence Day in "Bananaville" (their fort which is frequently undergoing creative renovations)
Burundi flag with the Morning Report building
And no celebration is complete without a sunset game of football!